Well Clearly You Can't Take a Joke!
When I discovered my husband’s infidelity, after the first week of pain, rage and insanity, I did what a lot of women do – I went to a therapist. I was reluctant to go for a lot of reasons, but mainly because there was a part of me that knew my relationship wasn’t healthy or good and that the infidelity was a minor part of that whole. I suppressed my misgivings and went in with my newborn in her carrier, intent on finding some kind of mental peace so I could sleep and perhaps stop crying at the drop of a hat. She was a kind woman, with 3 children like me, who walked me through her whole educational background and personal journey to becoming a therapist. In the back of my mind I remember thinking, I’m paying for this?? Apparently it’s a method for acquainting oneself with patient’s as a way for them to become comfortable enough to talk to you. After she had finished, I explained my situation and in between bouts of tears and anger, managed to cover the surface issues I wanted help with.
Her kind eyes were perceptive enough to see that I wasn’t being completely forthcoming, so she questioned me about if there was anything else bothering me. Did I have other issues with my husband? Was he verbally abusive or physically? Little did I know that I fit the profile for both of these things, I shied away from those areas unconsciously when I talked, and even my body language spoke for me when I was unwilling to. I used sarcasm and humor to deflect people away from areas that were painful for me. I was known by everyone as their “funny friend” and sarcasm was my life blood. She looked me squarely in the eyes and said, “Usually when people use sarcasm and humor the way you do, they’re trying to hide something painful and a lot of times are crying out for help.” She challenged me to spend a week without sarcasm or humor in my personal interactions. (For me this would have meant spending a week in a locked room not talking.) In my mind I was already planning never to come back, she had seen too much on this visit and I wasn’t looking to let anyone know the truth about my life, but she took my hand as I left and simply said, “Letting someone help you doesn’t make you weak.” I nodded and smiled, left her office and never returned. I had created the cell my life had become and I was too scared to break out of it, no matter how much I wanted to. I forgave my husband his infidelities, after all, it was my fault for focusing too much attention on the kids and not being a good wife. The occasional bubbles of anger that came up in me were easily ignored after a while, I went on as I had before, convincing myself I had done what was best for the children and myself, determined to be happy. Spoiler alert – there is no happy ending when you’re married to a narcissist.
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