So last night I find myself at work reading one of the aforementioned books with tears running down my face because - HOLY SHIT - I am reading about my very life on these pages!!! Stuff I thought was me literally going crazy is, in fact, him trying to make me think I am crazy, so that he can be right, or not wrong....or something like that. Let me excerpt...
"The passive-aggressive man is gifted at engineering a sense of doubt in others, and he knows it. He gets you to doubt your impressions of his behavior and to believe his version of what's happened. He relies on you to discount your own reactions. No matter how hostile or undermining his passive-aggressiveness, he gets you to make allowances for him, ignore your feelings and take his abuse.
An extreme version of the man who creates knee-weakening doubt and ably shifts blame from himself is the pathological fortune-hunting husband in the film Gaslight....He uses mind bending games to undermine his wife's sanity, such as denying he's done or said something. (The wife) searches for a brooch she knows she left on the dressing table, but he has already hidden it in the attic, "reminding" her of her memory problem and how she always seems to be losing things. And of course, when the gaslight in the house flickers and she remarks on it, he says, "What flickering light?"
In your life, the passive-aggressive man's more benign version of "gaslighting" you (telling you that what is, isn't and vice versa), is just as confusing. At his best, he can provoke an otherwise calm and rational woman into an irrational rage...It's not necessarily what he says or does, it's how he obstinately twists reality and denies the facts to either weasel out of responsiblity or push you around...This is what gets to you...
If your rage has escalated...you probably will stop in your tracks and wonder how you've been transformed into this creature of destruction. Ashamed of your behavior, your pattern may be to give in and agree with him that you are the persecutory figure he says you are, and he the unfortunate victim. You wind up apologizing to him."
The tears just kept coming yesterday. That is my life. That is my SO (significant other), that's him! How can a person live this way? How have I been living this way? How can I change this without walking out on a relationship with someone I care deeply about that I have put several years into building? Is there any way to salvage this? That is what I am trying to figure out.
Yes, I have been here before. Not exactly here, but somewhere close. Different players, different scenario, but the same question - can this be salvaged? Last time around, I had been trying on my own to salvage things, taking the burden on myself to try and fix the problems, shoulder the responsibilties, need less from my partner, try not to lose myself in the process, give more leeway. It drained me dry. Absolutely dry. To the point where I had to tell him, when he came back to me with the sincere desire to try things again, that I could not do it. And I could not. It was not possible for me to put myself in that position again. The position of being vulnerable, my throat exposed, ready to be hurt once again. Sure this all sounds melodramatic, and it is. But I am a creature of emotion. That is my primary Modus Operandi, not logic, not thoughts, but feelings.
I think the hardest thing that a human being has to do is to truly think about HERSELF FIRST, before ANY other human being. Not mother, father, sister, brother, child, partner, friend or stranger on the street. It is extremely difficult for me. I think even if I was alone, no partner and I lived alone with no friends nearby, I would surround myself with pets or something to take up my time so that I would not HAVE to think about myself. And ACT on those thoughts as well, not just think.
So the question comes back around. Is there a way to salvage this? I don't feel like I am at a point where I can no longer trust my partner with my feelings. I WANT to work things out. That is a positive sign. But I could see things quickly approaching that in the months ahead, if things continue as they have been, could take us on a turn for the worse. How can I get him to know how he is and own up to it, and WORK ON IT?! This seems like an insurmountable task, especially since he is one of those guys who is resistant (to put it mildly) to the idea of going to therapy. I DON'T think this is something we can tackle without an outside arbitrator stepping in to point some things out. It has to be someone who he can't accuse of being biased one way or the other, even though he probably will anyway.
So I am having a bad week emotionally. I feel ready to cry at the drop of a hat. More than once today, I felt weepy. Not hormones, not even close. Not any meds I am or am not taking. I think I am getting enough sleep. I just feel like I am overloaded. I have stuff going on every weekend and day off for the next 3 weeks, there is tension in my relationship partly because of not spending enough time together, I have financial arrangements to make for things, I am working on this passive-aggressive thing, I have all this other stuff to finish. More of what I said yesterday. Too much going on. Too much pressure and stress. How do people deal with this all the time and not lose their shit. I have not figured it out yet. I guess that's not a very good sign at my age.