...and With The Wine, Honesty....

My story is fairly typical of others in here... cold wife, doesn't seem to love or care... immune to small gestures, roses, dinner out... etc... etc...

Last night was my company Christmas party. I was headed there straight from work, so in the morning I put on grey slacks, dark blue button down, black wingtips and a grey sports coat. I thought I looked pretty good. I emerged from the bathroom and she says, "uuuuhh.... well..... I guess that'll do...". I should be used to this by now, but it really bothered me, particularly after I go out of my way to comment about the way she looks as she heads off to work, the way she dresses, her humor, her intelligence....etc... for me? Nada.

At the party she drank 3-4 glasses of wine. I didn't drink at all because I was going to drive about 45 minutes home.

When we were in the car, she said I looked good tonight. It felt like such a block-check (she could tell I was not very happy that morning). So I said, "If you thought that, why didn't you say anything this morning?".

Ok; here it comes. She said, "..because if I tell you how good you look, you might believe it and go find someone else...".

?!?!??!?? excuse me?!!!!!! I was shocked..... "What??"

She said, "...you have to understand, I look horrible. You are the better looking of the two of us. If you knew that, you'd go find something younger no doubt...".

I couldn't help myself. I said, "...do you realize the pain, the doubt... the constant self-f**king analysis till all hours this has caused me???".. and then another thought on this hit me, "... you've purposely been trashing my self esteem.... in trade... for your own security?!? Don't you realize that making me think I'm not attractive to you, that you don't desire me is causing the exact opposite of what you think? It's not keeping me with you, it's making me seek validation and attention elsewhere!"

"....no...no... what I'm saying is that's how I feel...", she says. Not emotionally, but in this, 'its not about you' way. Not about me??!!! The price this f**king 'tactic' of hers has cost me, for years, is beyond measure in pain, lonliness, confusion, severly challenged self-worth...etc...

I'm still thinking through today just what all the implications were of this. First, I do understand 'what' she's saying - but right at this point, and I know this sounds selfish, I swear I could give a s**t about her twisted line of thinking that somehow I'd be better chained here if she made me feel I was undesireable. The words selfish, self-centered, callous, etc.... come to mind to start with. I've got all the self-image problem psychology that I now know she has, but I don't feel particularly warm and fuzzy about making her feel good, in payment for making me feel worthless for years.

So... lots of deep breaths today. So, I guess I'm supposed to feel somehow better about myself out of this, but obvoiously can't.... maybe not just yet (because, then again, THIS could all be some line of BS as well...).

I'd never in my life heard of such a thing... trashing the one you love so they'll feel so unworthy that they'd be happy taking the scraps of intimacy you dish out like holy water???

Anyone ever hear of something so ... I can't even think of an appropriate word, and obviously still in vent mode.
RandDannesk RandDannesk
46-50, M
16 Responses Dec 21, 2012

Update - after she said this, there was silence all the way home, and we didn't talk about it. Last night I had to bring it up (unrelated crappy treatment, but seemed to be part of the same line of thought) - so I brought it up - I wanted to talk about it.

So basically, she (true to form of trying to spin things around) actually acted like she was the offended one - that I ".. made this all about [me].." But this time I reacted differently and wouldn't let her spin, derail, distract, change the subject... etc... Normally I would have buckled under just to keep the peace (which always seemed like something I had to pay for), but not this time.

Won't take everyone through the blow-by-blow - but walked away, for the first time in a long time, with my self-esteem I tact (which is normally ground zero during our arguments).

I ended it by saying, "Pain aversion is an instinct - If you perpetually don't feel good around someone, eventually you're going to find someone who WILL make you feel good. That's where I'm at."

So, we'll see - if its simply more of the same, than at least I warned her, gave it my all (to say the least) and will be able to walk away without regretting or second-guessing whether i tried every last thing humanly possible.

Thanks so much for all the comments, wishes and support.

Thanks Awake.... lol on skipping to 'free' - no, its not easy. In the back of my head, my knee-jerk gut reaction was to stop because I didn't want to give her cause to not want to be with me or love me...but kept having to remind myself, 'wait a minute... I'm not getting that now, so what's the risk?!...".

Actually, the 'trash partner's self esteem, convincing them they are crap and no one else would want them' move is directly from the abuser's playbook. In fact, this is the sort of thing a spouse-batterer does to tighten the control on his or her victim. Admitting to it seems bizarre, but then if you get someone tipsy they can be surprisingly truthful.

My finances ex wife actually did the exact same thing to him. It's horrid and I will never understand these people. I'm so sorry your dealing with that indecency and put down from the one person who is supposed to be supportive and be a positive light in your life. Are you going to stick it out through all this mess with her? Maybe go to couples therapy/counseling?

Ok.. a wonderful person sent me this link: http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Live-In-A-Sexless-Marriage/1445968

Well...it about sums it up. I couldn't believe as I was reading this article....it not only describes perfectly what she's doing, why, but also my perfectly fitted role in it all. Would really recommend anyone who sees my situation in a familiar light read it.

People often want to bring others down to their level...it is all to common, unfortunately but we also make a choice to allow them to do so and to feed into their bullshit. I will say that when people have issues with their self worth they often get desperate and do almost anything often making matters worse...if you want to save your marriage you both need to get counseling separately and then together...otherwise leave before you kill yourself in despair! Life is too damn short to live it with someone so selfish...that is NOT love, period!

I can relate to this so well. I tell my husband how cute he looks all the time even though tons of people ask me what I see in him. He never utters a word about how I look...or even give me a thank you for doing so much for him. The only thing I ever hear from him is, "you wear too much make up" - "you have no style" - or just a silent stare. He also tells me to change my outfit at times if it is too revealing...show too much skin. At his company xmas party last week, I wore a light green dress tight at the hips n legs, the top loose complimenting my chest. He said, "is that what you're going to wear?" I said..yes? He looks at me again and asked if he should just wear a dress shirt instead of a suit. I asked him why? was I not dressed fancy enough? He told me no..

At the xmas party...people complimented me on how beautiful they thought I was and even a few thought I was a model. He heard it and laughed. I felt insulted and my face became a frown without me realizing and right away he said, " quit looking sad in front of my co workers." and then in the most annoying kid accent and voice he said..."awwww did I offend you?" and back to his normal voice he said.."grow up"


You need to run, not walk, away from that crap now! That is not only unloving, it is cruel!

Diddo - that's horrible.

i go through the same dthing everyday of my life my husband does nothing but make me feel worthless and because we dont have any type of intimancy or closeness he calls me a horror. i dont have friends and i am with him everyday of my life 24 hours a day 7 days a week

lovebunny30 - Can you describe what you call your husband "doing nothing", and tell us more? For example, how long have you been married? How many children, if any, and their ages? When was it that you last felt loved by your husband, and when you felt you last loved him as you want to? From your very short story, it sounds like it is a mutual issue - perhaps it can be fixed. Everyone on this forum wants our marriages to continue with a healthy partner who wants to have regular fun sex. But, in most of ours, it is one party who is being wronged - and it's usually us! It sounds like both of you want more. We can help you if you will share your heart.

Nothing you have written here in this story changes the advice you should follow from your previous story. GET OUT! You are not only married to a cold shoulder beeotch of a woman, but now you expose just how totally sick and depraved she really is! She would consume your soul to make her feel complete. Sick sick sick!

So, how does her newest revelation change anything you have learned from your prior missives? Not at all! She is ill, you are being drained, and the only solution for your own life is to leave, take the reins of your life into your own hands, leave, get strong on your own without this soul draining black hole of a woman. Leave. Soon. Today. She left long ago, on the day she decided your well being was unimportant to her twisted sense self-worth. Or, rather self-loathing.

You can write all the stories you wish, but until you take the steps to leave this woman behind, you will simply be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Being shackled to a vampire is not how most of us wish to live life. Leave, grow, and find yourself a real complete non-soul sucking woman who loves you for being you, who loves herself already, and with whom you can grow and finally settle down into a couple of beach chairs in the sunset of life!

Have also been there. Living in an abusive relationship where I was put down continually, controlled, manipulated and lied to. All because he wanted his own way with everything but at the same time wanted to destroy my self esteem so I wouldn't leave and to this day it has worked. Why don't people believe in love instead of thinking you're better than me I will damage you so badly you won't think anyone else wants you. Some people do it just because they are genuinely scared, others do it for their own selfish need. I don't know you or your wife so only you know the answer as to why, but good luck with it all.

men treat you this way not caring how bad it hurts and breaks your heart. once they get you to the point were you no longer have self esteem and they make you believe that no one else wants you there happy. they know your not going any where. i am in the same kind of marriage, everything i do i wrong im no good any thing he can think of tohurt me he says it then smiles. and keeps going, constantly hurting me and him loving every minute of it.

<p>&nbsp;<p><p><p>Please look up online o google for the keywords: Manipulative, Insecure, Controlling, Selfish, spouse. You may find a lot of answers there.<br />
<br />
I think your wife is a manipulator who has been playing all these mind games with you just to keep you at the cost of your own self esteem..Manipulative people can have a variety of behavior traits, it could be so subtle that you wouldnt even know they are doing this to you.. you just lose your self esteem slowly and surely.. Manipulation is an attempt by one spouse to control the other..</p><p></p>

..sounds about right. I'll definately be reading in a slightly different direction now. Thanks.

Look at the www.shrink4men site. Look at the index and find some articles that seem to fit. One is titled something like 'emotional brainwashing'.
Emotional manipulation is a form of abuse. It is designed to break ones belief system down so they can rebuild another to suit.
Your partner is guided by fear. To control the fear she tries to control you as the alternative is facibg her fear. This price is too high as that means she needs to mature emotionally and look in. Its easier to keep you jumping through hoops than sort her **** out.
Read a lot on this board and some other places. Take your time.
Good luck

There is a saying 'The drunken man speaks a sober mind', so she is telling you the truth.
I hate to say this but you're way too nice to your wife, to such an extent you're bending over backwards to please her in order to win her affection and love.
When you were affectionate towards her, she mocked you and called you a joker right?
Im inclined to agree with you that she must have a very low self esteem, it makes her feel so good about herself (it feeds her sick ego) to see you begging for her affection, love and intimacy.

I was in your shoes for a 10yr marriage. Only I'm a women. Funny how little things they do and say or don't do, can make you FEEL so worthless. The times when you need the warmth of that of that person the most and they just don't care. Your needs don't seem to matter at all. It sounds like she wants to place the blame soley on you. If you were'nt so attractive she wouldn't have to act that way, right.......doesn't make any sense does it? After 10yrs of this and 0 selfesteem left. My husband admitted to a string of affairs. I left him 2 days later he was openly dating.... Our divorce will be final a full year in Jan. He has had a new live in girlfriend for the past 6 months. Never even sees our son much anymore....... & me, I'm a 39 yr old single mother tring to start over again. Still blindsided by what happened..... my advise. Sit her down, without the wine and tell her, you need to know the truth. If she loves you, really loves you, tell her, YOU need her to change, YOU can't do this anymore. Please don't be me.... I still don't have the courage to even talk with man outside of work & when one does show interest I run.... there was just so much hurt and anger. Hang in there, whatever you choose to do. Its a tough road, stay or go, either way. I'm praying for you.....stay strong

Could you step aside from your own hurt for a bit? And consider how low her self worth must be?
She fears losing you, because she thinks you're better looking than her. She doesn't think she can offer you anything worthwhile to "keep" you.
Can you imagine what she feels? I know it's twisted but it has a purpose and that is to hold onto you.

Cricket.... I got it. I do, and I know Dr Phil and all the other relationship people would have me do things to validate her - but right now, it simply feels like a gross, unacceptable injustice that after chipping away at my core, that I'M supposed to now coddle HER???? That's what I can't bring myself to do right now, whether I understand this came from a place of weakness within her or not. It's not vengeful... but it would feel like stopping some who was running with my wallet and letting them know they forgot the checkbook in my other pocket. Maybe at some point...but simply can't feel my way through helping her right now.

I guess I think it's one way to get the truth out of her. To make her feel comfortable enough to be truthful.

I hate to add injury to insult, here. But in reading your account of her words, I do not see a single indication of *her* being truly attracted to *you*. She describes you as desirable in an objective way, not a personal way. To me it sounds as if you had it right the first time -- she's not hiding an attraction of her own in order to secure you and control you. She doesn't have one, but sees that someone else might, and so chips away at your self-image in order to make you doubt that possibility.

It is beyond cruel. I am so sorry.

Deb...that didn't occur to me, but you're right. Now that I think about it......she never said that she found me attractive, that she felt she wanted or desired me. To think this might just be her caging me?.... like caging a bird, or keeping a pet in line... Good God.... that thought makes me ill. What kind of person would do that? I can't believe it of her - I don't know if I could condemn her to being the type of person who would do such a thing... I'm going to have to think about this. Thanks for the insight... that never occurred to me.

Alas, this is what happens with the bait-and-switching, narcissistic partners.... they want us, but as an accessory, rather than a person (let alone an equal). They need a spouse to look normal and complete to the world, to fill out their own self-image -- and at some level they KNOW this is what they're doing, the whole time. You just asked the right question. I asked it four years ago.

P.S. be prepared for her to backpedal madly once she sobers up. This is a good place for you to document and get confirmation that you did NOT imagine things.

I hadn't considered she might have narcissistic personality disorder. Scary.

1 More Response

Wow... Selfish and cruel are the two words that pop into my mind.

Insecure is another that comes to mind.


Deja vue.

Seems like a straight replay of your recent story where the venue was her work formal.

That story attracted a fair range of responses. Anything resonate at all ?

Tread your own path.

I'd have never imagined she was actually attracted to me, or at least belived I was attractive, but what purposely NOT dealing any compliments... purposely not initiating intimacy (lest I feel like I was desirable).... I've been approaching this whole thing from the perspective that I REALLY was not desireable to her.. that she REALLY did not see me in that way, or frankly, love me. To now know it was part of some sadistic act, AND the twisted logic that in doing so, she was somehow securing me to her... At some point I'll start reasoning this through... right now, I just feel a whole lot of justifiable ... I don't know.... 'disgust' would be the best word.

She's been doing it on purpose, bazzar.... whittling away at my entire soul, for years.... on purpose. I know I'm being redundant as hell... but its hard to make it compute.