Around and Around and Around We Go… Punishment and Reward

Wearing a long sleeved white crisp collared shirt, and your hair out, falling down around your shoulders, you are standing facing Mr Incredible before you leave for work. Once again, you find yourself engaged in an argument, you’re unsure what started it and what it’s about, but you are angry and sound neurotic. Looking down at your arms inside your white shirt, you notice that both your arms and hands are shaking, and in fact, your whole body is shaking. Your voice is quivering, and your breath shallow. You really hope Mr Incredible doesn’t notice this, but he does, “Look at you, you’re shaking” he mocks, and smiles wryly. He looks at you as though you’re pathetic, and he actually looks happy about it. You can’t place your finger on exactly why you’re shaking, part of you starts to think you’re going crazy. Are you a crazy neurotic woman, making ‘mountains out of molehills’? This is the first episode of shaking that you can remember, but from here in, this shaking becomes something that happens to you regularly, especially when Mr Incredible shocks you with some old or new unexpected news or accidental lie. Fear taking hold of you and gripping your body becomes a familiar feeling, and when it happens, you find it hard to breathe or move, becoming effectively paralysed. Arguing with no resolve has become habitual. It’s become like an exercise that you are just doing for the sake of doing. It’s not how you want it to be, but it’s how it is.  As pointless as arguing with Mr Incredible is, you continue to participate, with the misguided notion that one day he will hear and understand your feelings, he will see sense and you will grow and change together, he insists that’s what he wants too.  Misguided is exactly where it’s at.  You sign up for this habitual arguing like signing up for a season of team sport, a sport that goes round and round in circles with no end and with a guaranteed loser… YOU.  Not only does it make you physically ill each time you participate, but it also gives Mr Incredible  ample opportunity to wear you down with put-down’s and confusing accusations, he accuses you of everything that he is and everything that he does, but you can’t see if for what it is, because you’ve entered into it,  and so that’s where you are… In it. The fact that this picture is all wrong is lost on you, for you’ve become far too preoccupied with proving yourself  (the game that Mr Incredible  beckoned you to play) to notice this abnormal world that has become your existence. You’ve entered into it and you’re engaged in it.  All your arguments are about unjust treatments, lies, dishonesty, secrets and disrespect towards you (all difficult to pin-point),  the outsider wonders why you stay and fight, why you don’t  just walk away?   Well it’s simple really, it’s because you see your goal as an attainable one.  It’s Mr Incredible who first showed you just how wonderful you are, and you believed him.  Somewhere along the line, things got switched, Mr Incredible stopped telling you how wonderful you are and started expecting you to prove it to him.   Because of his concentrated efforts in the beginning, you gave him an elevated place in your heart (the place he wanted),  and you believed him when he convinced you that You were amazing.  Now, you have to prove it to him, and prove it to him you must, prove it to him you will.  Otherwise what are you? Who are you? Are you really all that wonderful?  Ahhh, don’t go there, don’t stop and think about it, you don’t have the energy and you don’t want the answer.   All of your energies are directed towards sustaining your position, it takes all of your effort and keeps you so distracted that there’s no time to think a logical thought. You know you can’t head off to work this morning while you’re still shaking, and Mr Incredible’s just not getting it.  Any understanding and acknowledgment on his part won’t be forthcoming. This argument will have to end as it always does, with the Wonderful You taking the lead and being the more mature one.  Is that what it is? Or, could it be, that when Mr Incredible takes his approval away from you, your body enters into arrest?  You need his approval and adulation to be administered to you once more, reviving you and bringing you back to life, enabling you to make it through another day? It’s more likely to be the latter one, coupled with the fact that if you deny Mr Incredible permission to do as he pleases and get away with the unacceptable, you risk being faced with due punishment.  You may be left behind, overlooked, ignored, shamed, put down, called names or a host of other things if you persist with highlighting his behaviour. So you make the choice to relent again, and for this, you are promptly rewarded.  Warm hugs, kisses on the forehead and comfort are returned to you.  Temporary relief envelopes your body. You will probably receive flowers later in the day at work, and there may be something special waiting for you in the evening when you return home.  There will be emails with poetry, love songs, and links to real estate sites (suggesting it’s time to buy a house together) along with endearing text messages and maybe a direct phone call at work, just to see how your day is going.  This is another opportunity for everyone at your work to reinforce how amazing Mr Incredible is and how Wonderful you are for catching him. Everyone that is, except for the grey dog sitting in the corner, who quietly points out to you that gestures don’t signify change.  Mmm, ignore that and don’t let it ruin the great day you have ahead of you, there’s lots to look forward to. How do you know this?   Well, because, It’s become your usual pattern.  Indeed if you were a lesser person you could milk this pattern for all it’s worth. Point out an unacceptable behaviour to Mr Incredible, have one of your pointless arguments,  then give in, give up, back down and relent. And BINGO! You will be in for a day of bliss. Make sure you’ve dropped hints of anything you want or need beforehand so that these items will be delivered to you on your bliss day. All the while, your insides will be slowly eroding and wearing away, like a worn and rusted joint that’s out of alignment, but don’t worry about this now, deal with it later when you feel like dying for being so blind and delusional. Clearly, the fact that you were shaking and dizzy, almost falling short of breathing this morning has been forgotten by you (until it happens again that is).  Mr Incredible offered you his superficial remedies, and you said “Okay, thanks, that’ll do.”  These short term superficialities appease your Shadow Self, leaving your Little Secret Self out in the cold, hungry and starving, longing to be nurtured and loved. You’ll find her frail, mal-nutritioned body crumpled up dead out there on your back doorstep if you don’t do something drastic soon.  Oh, but Mr Incredible won’t let you come to her rescue that easily, he’ll block you at your every turn, when you’re trying to get to that back door to let her back inside where it’s warm, he’ll pull a swifty on you from out of nowhere. You’ve got a battle on your hands and you don’t even know it. I don’t think you even know whose side you’re on, but I’m pretty sure it’s not yours. Hard to fathom isn’t it? How you could find yourself trapped in such a tricky game with so many different facets,  it seems more than the average human being could scheme. Off to work you head, nursing your little heart in your hands, and holding onto some kind of false hope….. until next time. iStock_000016514695_ExtraSmall

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15 thoughts on “Around and Around and Around We Go… Punishment and Reward

  1. These stories about living with a narcissist are excellent as they are about as real to life as it gets. Telling it through a story makes it so much more clear. Even the rewards after a while stopped coming, as the years went on, the scraps of affection became more and more scrappier. Thank God I finally realised what sort of man he truly was after I discovered his affair with a much younger girl. 15 years of this hell has thankfully come to an end, I am now 6 months out of it but realise I have a lot of crap to deal with yet as we share a house so getting a settlement from him is not going to be pleasant, I imagine. Thankfully we never married or had children together.

    • Hi Sophie

      15 years! That’s a long time. You will have a little road ahead of you, it’s true, but at the end of it you won’t know your new self! Thankfully you don’t have children together, once the settlement is done there will be no need for any ties.
      Thank you so much for your feedback, you understand my objective exactly.
      Yes, the gifts do dry up, eventually everything dries up depending on how long you stay. These stories are leading to something more positive, but they will get a lot worst yet before they get any better!

      Thanks again Sophie and take care. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Around and Around and Around We Go… Punishment and Reward | The Journey Through It

  3. So perfectly put. Its a life altering experience. On so many levels… emotionally mentally physically, for the people around you, not only yourself. After 6 years of marriage then 4 years apart and one young child, I still feel the struggle moving beyond all that was taken from me, all that he destroyed in my life its been a long road and I see it as a longer ride even still

    • Hi Linda
      I understand completely. I have four children, a long story, and a lot of heartache. I will never personally understand the need for some people to mercilessly hurt and destroy the lives of others. I hope you are traveling okay.
      Simone

  4. Twenty years, three kids and a constant merry go round exactly like you described. Throw in passive aggressive bullshit and over the top raging and I’m there. By the end I was shaking daily, with no reward in sight. I practically had to crawl from that marriage with only a scrap of sanity left. The last little bit of sanity that said “if you don’t go, you will lose your mind and everything will go with it’. One tiny little bit of self preservation left – Thank God. And then the rage you never got to express hits in what seems like never ending waves – rage you never got to express because you were always being the ‘bigger person’. I’m riding that storm towards happiness and freedom from confusion and when I’m finally there – then he better start running – cause then I’ll be ready for settlement with my full faculties and he won’t believe how his bullshit, contempt and lip curling derision, won’t make me quiver and curl up and crawl away anymore and I will fight for mine and my childrens future, like a lion. His plans of walking away with everything while I lost my mind will be foiled. In the meantime I bide my time and stay silent and fix myself and gather my strength back, while I battle the up and down rage, depression, relief, confusion cycle that they leave you with. Thanks for your post – great read. You captured the cycle brilliantly.

  5. Hi Bronze
    Yes, the anger can be both indescribable and inescapable at times, leaving us not knowing where to place it or what to do with it. It hits us in unpredictable waves after being silent and pushing down our own needs for so long. Silence is golden. Good plan. I’m glad you enjoyed my post, thanks for your encouragement.
    Simone

  6. Oh, this story is perfect and you nailed it. These narcissists are all so much the same, aren’t they? They should be easy to spot, one would think. Unfortunately, they don’t show their true colors until we have already begun to lose ourselves and so the cycle begins. The story of my life for 21 years that, thankfully, I gained courage enough to put an end to seven years ago. Since then it’s been a different kind of going around (and around and around) with child custody and child support issues, but I have found myself again and that is priceless. Thank you for this. I’m off to read more.

  7. Wow, you nailed it! I am in the process of trying to cut final ties after 27 years of marriage. It’s so hard to take that final step. We’ve been separated for 6 months and you are correct, he has barely tried any thing meaningful this time around to show he cares.

  8. Thank you Simone, I sat reading this with chills and tears because as in the old tv show Dragnet “The story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.” You are so accurate how you describe how it feels to a tee. The false you, the SS they have implanted in you like Invasion of the Body Snatchers so you will accept what they dish out. And you wind up as they are with a false self. But the difference is you have a conscience Thank God the LSS your real self that you know and love and miss so badly, that conquers the SS and wins you back in the end.

  9. Hey JS, thanks for stopping by and thank you for your comments. You are absolutely on point that LSS rises up and conquers SS and all controlling parties in the end. Soon I will begin to write about this process. Stay tuned, I hope you are pacing well. 🙂

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