Help! My husband is a jerk. I’m sure you can relate:
Never in a million years did I think I’d be getting a divorce. I’m sure most of you can relate. For years, I knew that my husband was a jerk. Our relationship progressed rather rapidly, as many in this situation do. Having been acquaintances before, I quickly moved in with him after a few months of a long-distance relationship. I had just
broken up with someone I’d been with for 3 years. Within just a few months of living together, he asked me to marry him, (which is another bizarre story in and of itself) I said yes, though I had my doubts already. We were married a year later, only a year and 3 months after really getting to know each other. I had my doubts, as I stated before, but we had already bought a house together and had combined all of our money (another sign, in retrospect). He had agreed to move back to be closer to my family. (I had just broken up with a man who had been unwilling to move away from his family so that I could be close to mine, which is understandable; however, my now-ex used this knowledge of my weakness as part of his plan to snag me. He knew I was so happy he was willing to move wherever I wanted to go, that I’d be more willing to accept some of his bad traits. And I was. He was very loving to me, at times. Other times, he was a jerk, but it started out so slowly that I learned to accept his bad times. He always put on a good front to others and I was isolated in a state 350 miles from my family and friends. Though I had made friends down there, they were all mutual friends, actually, they were all friends of his first, so it was hard to confide in anyone without fear that it would get back to my fiancé at the time. I had a neighbor that was bold enough to suggest that he get a job, and ask “is he even looking for a job?” I however, took up for him with the phrase that he told me, that he was helping me get my business started. He wasn’t, however, I wasn’t really working much yet either, so I didn’t feel I had the right to judge. Looking back, I think that neighbor, had I confided in her, could have been a valuable asset. She was a strong woman and put up with emotional abuse at home. Her husband was a jerk too, only more obviously so. He didn’t try to hide it. He was also an alcoholic. He’d drink 24 beers a night some nights (or ever night?) It didn’t seem to shake her but looking back, I’m sure it did.
It was during this time that I started to see things, especially while he was drinking. He had drunk heavily in the past, even bragged about it to me. He drank moderately to heavy at times while we were together, barely any toward the end. But, in the beginning, it seemed that when he was drunk, he’d let his guard down a little and “things” would slip out. For instance, one of the first fights we had, shortly after I had moved down, he got offended because while the two of us were cleaning the house (yes, he did this in the beginning) I wore headphones and listened to my music. He thought that it was rude that I was listening to music that HE couldn’t hear and wasn’t talking to him. Ok, this, in-and-of-itself is not such a big issue. Couples have issues like this all the time. The issue came in the manner in which it was handled. When he brought it up, he was clearly angry. His reaction was out-of-proportion to the “crime” committed. He was yelling about how inconsiderate I was and how he didn’t see “how
anyone wouldn’t see that this was offensive!” and “How could you be so selfish as to think that this was right?!” and on and on. I apologized. I hadn’t meant to hurt his feelings, as I clearly had. However, the apology got me nowhere. He went on and on about it. He withdrew his affection and attention from me for days. This seemed like very strange behavior. He was “different”, not the loving, doting man that I had known. However, after a few days, he seemed to forget about it. I was so confused about what had happened. In fact, that’s a phrase that I found myself repeating for the next several years. “What just happened?” There were more incidents. One involved me “not being ready to go when I said I was ready.” I used the bathroom (#1) before leaving the house. It was a quick trip. I didn’t stop to do my hair or anything. I’d say 1-2 minutes, tops. He was already in the car and came storming back in irate because I had “taken so long after I said I was ready.” He then refused to go wherever we had planned to go and was miserable for days. What the …?! But, a few days later, he was back to his “old” self. These types of incidents happened more and more often. I’m sure all of you reading this have some similar stories.
But most times were good. He’d cuddle with me on the couch at night, play in my hair, which always put me to sleep, and even build me up at times. Even toward the end, we often had nice nights of cuddling. It was so relaxing and comfortable. Then, he was the man that I married. Of course, as many of you in this situation are, I was scared of his temper, of his anger. I don’t know how I stumbled on the subject of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). I think it was from a podcast I heard a few years before our divorce. From the moment I learned about NPD, I realized that, as I had suspected, our marriage wasn’t salvageable. Still, it took me years to get out. I know I knew it !) From this definition, I went from thinking “my husband is a jerk” to realizing there was an actual personality disorder, more specifically narcissism, going on. If you are also thinking “my husband is a jerk”, it would be wise for you to look into narcissistic personality disorder, or NPD, and arm yourself with information. Narcissistic personality disorder treatment is not deemed to be very successful. If you must leave, which you most likely will, you will need all the information you can get about how to safely leave, your children’s safety while leaving, and the court battle ahead. Divorcing a narcissist can be daunting. Family courts often don’t recognize narcissistic
parents and can often overlook the problem. Gather information that may help you, including your important paperwork, even if you have to sneak it out of the house one-by-one to copy. Get your bank information. If you are not an authorized user on the account (I wasn’t), start your own bank account to save money for when you leave. (I didn’t/couldn’t), or give money to a trusted friend/family member for safe-keeping. I DID do that. It was the easiest method and hardest to track. It wasn’t much, as I wasn’t making much at the time, but it helped. If you are worried about being fair, don’t. If he’s a narcissist, he’s not, and if you’re with him, it’s likely that he’s preyed on your sensitivity as mine did to me. And, most importantly, document everything your spouse says/does that shows his instability, whether it be emails, texts, conversations, etc. Also keep a list of witnesses to any encounters, or witnesses that knew who had the kids when. The narcissist will likely use them to get back at you and may try to get custody of the children in order to hurt you (and/or because they need them for narcissistic supple). In retrospect, I know I’m not perfect. I know I have flaws. However, I didn’t deserve the treatment I got. My husband is an asshole! If you’re reading this, it’s very likely that yours is too.
Not all jerks are narcissists, some are just miserable people. However, I’d say that the majority of jerks are narcissists. (See “Is He a Narcissist” to find out if your jerk is a narcissist) If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to first get out safely, if necessary, then to heal from the narcissistic abuse. Healing from narcissistic abuse is no picnic. Neither is getting a divorce. If you have been together for a long time, there are strong bonds to the narcissist. If you have children together, your ride is going to be considerably rougher as this person will likely always be in your life through your child and your jerk is likely going to use your child/children as a pawn while going through a divorce and often after.
For a while, I just thought “my husband is a jerk!” Now I know that there was more to it. I hope that through this website and others like it, that you may find the strength to stand up to the jerk, or at least stand up for yourself as you get out of the toxic relationship and heal and move on. It is taking me a while to heal from the narcissistic covert abuse, as it was in my case (yours may be more blatant), but healing from anything takes time. I wish you strength as you heal what needs to be healed. You should not have to suffer from someone, especially a supposed loved one, degrading you or playing mind games. Trying to decide when to divorce your husband is a very hard decision and should not be made lightly. You should read up on how to divorce your husband before you leave if you can do so safely. Getting a divorce is no easy task, especially when a narcissist is involved. You will likely find that you don’t need a husband to be happy. In fact, an unhappy marriage in which you’ve tried everything you can to make it work can make you terribly unhappy, but sometimes counseling can do wonders if two people are willing to admit their mistakes and are willing to change.
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