Monthly Archives: November 2014

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

I’m glad I went to church yesterday even though I cried twice during the service. It does give me some peace. Before the service I felt panic and as though I might do something stupid concerning my STBX, but afterwards I just drove slowly home.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder these days, which I have absolutely no doubt my husband suffers from. Weirdly the vast majority of us chumps on the Chump Lady website were in a relationship with a narc.

Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

In order for a person to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) they must meet five or more of the following  symptoms:

  • Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  • Requires excessive admiration
  • Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  • Is exploitative of others, e.g., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  • Lacks empathy, e.g., is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  • Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  • Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

My husband, and I am not exaggerating, has all nine of those characteristics. That is why he feels he is more deserving of his settlement money than I am. Why he thinks my potential is so much less than his. Why I should be happy to be my parent’s caregiver for the rest of my life. I have no goals or hopes or dreams. At least nothing that compares to his.

When I was with my husband I frequently became embarrassed because he “exaggerated” (no, he lied) to people so that they’d think better of him. It was bad enough he did it constantly about himself but when he did it about me it was particularly appalling. I ran a children’s website and had a Twitter account associated with it. One day a famous author followed me back and I was thrilled because he has a million (literally) followers, but only follows 800 people back.

So you know how my husband spun that? He told people that I was friends with Neil Gaiman. Um. No. I’m not friends with him. We’ve had a few Twitter exchanges and that’s it. But he’d tell his hipster friends that his wife was friends with Neil in order to earn some hipster points. I was very uncomfortable with that because they’d ask me about it! And then if I didn’t correct them I became complicit in his lies.

I also am glad to not be around him and his endless get rich schemes. Seriously, there were no end to them. I’m all for being optimistic and curious and trying new things, but after eight years, losing every penny I had, and a couple hundred “perfect ideas” it was hard to muster any more enthusiasm. And then he’d get mad at me for being negative.

The worst part about the get rich schemes was that he could never consider working his way up from the bottom. No. He’d go right to the very, very tip top overnight and become one of the “super rich.” And he’d call me negative for not understanding or, god forbid suggesting that he enjoy the process of getting there because to admit he wouldn’t ever be super rich was to admit he’d never be rich at all.

While we together almost constantly, we didn’t have much interaction. He slept very late and then spoke on the phone to his family for HOURS every day. Sometimes I thought I could get a word in edgewise if I just phoned him. And on those really rare days when I could afford to take us out for dinner, and stupidly expected it to be intimate or romantic, he aimed his chair away from me, toward the restaurant and server and anyone else he could engage in conversation. Leaning back as though he is a big shot.

And it’d be too soon if I ever again hear him calling people “idiots.” It’s all I ever heard. “Idiots. Idiots. Idiots.” If they didn’t like him they were idiots. If they were better off and didn’t help him they were idiots. If they disagreed in any way they were idiots.

In eight years of marriage I walked away from hundreds of clerks at shops or hosts at restaurants because he HAD to complain about something every single time. Every. Single. Time. No joke, one year he wrote a letter to a major department store in London demanding that they change the direction of their escalators. That’s just one example of thousands. For eight years he’d complain to these people at the bottom of the power structure with no way to change things — but my husband only wanted to hear himself talk and he actually felt they were in awe of his brilliance.

I always thought his sense of entitlement was due to the fact that he’s Iranian and they place huge importance on being “the first born of the first born of the first born,” etc. which he is. But now I feel that his sense of entitlement might be because he realizes he’s a loser and a fake and that his behavior is just a cover up for a man with deep insecurities.

He loves to be admired and he thought my humility and honesty was disgraceful. He said I should never let people know who I really am. He told me that my mother is white trash because she spoke of her poor upbringing in Mississippi.

To say he regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors is the understatement of the year. If you look up “Puts On Airs” you’ll see his photo. That’s why he needed to be rid of me. I refused to do those things. I was on to him. Not only that, but I hated that he put me down for being unwilling to act the part. This is what I mean when I say I ignored my own values and that’s what got me in trouble with him. I ignored those red flags. It’s not in my value system to flaunt and be arrogant.

Because he overcompensated for not having money by being a witty intellectual he was inappropriately opinionated and when he’d start up, say, at a party or gathering, I just had to walk away, afraid of what would come out of his mouth.

It was usually the subject of Jews. He tried to ascertain whether the person he was talking to had an opinion about how Jews controlled, well, everything. It took six of the eight years we were together before this side of him came out and it appalled me. By then I also heard him saying derogatory things about Indian people while we lived in the UK. He’s a racist and a bigot, but he’d deny that, naturally.

The saddest part is that when I began to see him as someone who may not succeed, who may always continue this fantasy way of life, he had to be done with me. He had no other choice but to move on to someone new and gullible. Because he was incapable of financially contributing to our life he had no other choice than to hook up with another woman who could support him — the fact that she’s 26 and a nurse? All the better for him and his massive ego.

Wait, no, the saddest part is that letting go of that constantly dreaming and scheming charismatic liar has proven so hard to do.

All of this is quite funny to me considering I am the one with diagnosed mental health issues. And boy did he loved to throw that in my face. But he’s got the worst personality disorder because there’s simply no cure for NPD. They can’t change. They may mellow a bit with age, but that’s it. I guess it’s lucky for them then, that they would never acknowledge having Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the first place.

 

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Bad, Bad Blogger

So if I can’t be showing progress and I can’t even be witty about my experience, I have no business blogging, right?

I was able to verify that Heather is 26. She was 25 when she moved in with my husband. And she’s a nurse, so she probably makes a pretty good living which is good for him.

It’s about an hour before I leave for church and I so wish I could stop trying to find information about her. She doesn’t matter. If it weren’t her it would have been someone else. Wait, she does matter. Maybe it wouldn’t have been someone else. I’ll never know.

I just can’t get over that my husband treats me abominably, abandons me, shacks up with a girl younger than my daughter and I’m the one who feels shame and humiliation while he gets sympathy for putting up with a mentally ill wife for years.

Typical double standard. And no consideration for the fact that our life together was so horrendous that it surely didn’t help my mental state.

I don’t know what to do to make myself just stop. I don’t know why I’d take these actions which cause me further pain — I’ve had enough pain.

I want to tell her the pain she’s caused.  I want to tell his friends that their own new marriage is cursed because they helped to end my marriage. The only thing stopping me is if I do anything like that, he’ll begin to play even dirtier with me.

I’m tired of pain. I’m tired of being broke. I’m tired of blaming myself for everything.

Okay, I’ll stop. God knows this whining does not help. I’ll brush my teeth and put a little make up on and go to church and just pray to God that he makes me open to receiving comfort and that I can somehow find peace in my heart.

As a final note I want to declare that this is the week, starting tomorrow, that I will get back to some form of physical exercise.

 

They Are Always Our Kids

I had a blissful (if expensive) Thursday and Friday with my daughter. We went to a late breakfast, saw the new Hunger Games movie, stopped by a friend’s house. Then met her boyfriend at a Chinese restaurant downtown. It was a very good meal and I had never met him before so that was nice. I liked him even though he’s just content being her boyfriend which bugs me.

That night I slept in her bed with her and her pug and I didn’t sleep much due to the pug’s snoring and not being able to play a documentary to put me to sleep, but I didn’t mind. I just wanted to be with her.

Before she fell asleep I touched her arm and said, “I wish I could have given you more.” She said, “You’re the best mom I’ve ever had.” I laughed and said, “But you deserved more.”

The next morning we had brunch at a French cafe and then I bought her a bunch of groceries and supplements. She works full time and goes to school full time and she just lives hand to mouth.

Her black sweater had a hole in it. Everything she had on looked worn and tired. My heart just broke. She only asks for help in the most dire circumstances. I am so sad I can’t do more.

But this morning I shopped online to find two sweaters and three inexpensive blouses, along with a pair of black bootie shoes and will have them shipped to her this week. I may need to go sell some of my jewelry to pay for it, but I don’t mind a bit. I want her to have some new clothes to wear for the holidays.

This is a really sad country to me. My family went from hard working, upper middle class to the high end of low class, I guess. These days she and her peers have no dental insurance so they end up having to have teeth pulled. She routinely works 40+ hours but when for one week it dipped below that, she lost her medical insurance. The fuckers at her work who have designed such a system will rot in hell. This is the sad state of affairs here in the US. Having lived in the UK, I’d take their healthcare any day of the week.

She’s overwhelmed with figuring out if she can afford to buy some coverage. I told her I’d make some calls on her behalf on Monday. I’m crossing my fingers.

I want to contact her father and ask him to help her too, but he’s pussy whipped by his wife who has always had a tumultuous relationship with my daughter. He has to get her permission to give anything to our daughter. They’re both pot smoking alcoholics and his wife’s temper is bad.

I’ve decided everything I work for on eBay will be for her for the time being. Her dog needs another surgery. Her car could break down. She has no one to turn to.

Why wasn’t I thinking of her well being when I was traipsing from USA to UK spending money that could have gone to help her? (Well, out of guilt I did give her as much as I could, including a car, but I should have done more.)

I guess it’s all just part of this very long process of finding myself that I am now worrying incessantly about her. I realized something today:

She’s all I have.

I’m glad church is tomorrow because I feel overwhelmed and so very sad. I love her more than anything in the world. But I’m also overwhelmed with love for her. I admire that she’s independent, which I’ve never been. She’s comfortable in her own skin. Yes, she has some anxieties, but nothing compared to mine.

I wish she could meet the man who will adore her forever. I’d give up any wish of my own to see that happen.

I fear I am becoming quite morbid so I will stop writing for today. The bottom line is I did have a fantastic getaway with her that I needed very much. And I’m grateful that she’ll be coming down here in a matter of weeks.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving, All

I’m melancholy, but God knows I could be worse. Yesterday I had a very good session with my therapist and we talked about ways to control my panic attacks without resorting to having to take an ativan. It’s all about distorted (problematic) thinking, which I’m a pro at. Somehow I just need to remind myself that it is distorted. Just because I can think it, doesn’t make it true.

I bought a small journal to carry with me. I’m going to try, the next time the feelings overwhelm me to do one of those “then what?” exercises to see if I can calm myself pretty quickly.

For example, I can be overwhelmed with the idea that I’ll be alone for the rest of my life. Then I ask, “If that happens, then what?”

I can answer, “Well, hopefully I’ll forge other relationships even if they’re not romantic.”

Then what?

I can find other ways to have an impact on the world such as more volunteer work.

Then what?

I might meet people with similar interests and values.

Then what?

Well, anything could happen, really.

I know it seems simplistic, but hey, we are talking about the fight or flight instinct and that sucker is quick. My fight or flight instinct is unbelievably strong to the point where most would find it alarming. I guess that goes hand in hand with a tumultuous childhood.

My youngest stepdaughter (I can still call her that) called me on FaceTime today and I was really overjoyed that she did. For a while I thought I might not be able to face his daughters due to my shame, which makes no sense, I know. But I’m embarrassed at how easily their father disposed of me as though I have no value. At any rate we had a great conversation and I’m glad of it.

I ordered a huge tub of Red Vines and a box of Lucky Charms to be delivered to her for her birthday early next month, things they can’t easily buy in the UK that she loves. I pray she’ll always be in my life. She’s a pure soul.

Speaking of souls, I also met with the priest from my church. I feel funny saying “my church” but I’m going to keep saying it until it doesn’t feel funny anymore. He is a kind man in his early thirties with a young family. I really liked him and the church the first time I went there almost two years ago; I had no desire to try other churches.

Twice a month they feed hungry people at the church on Saturday mornings and I told him I would like to help with that if needed. He gave me the name and telephone number of the woman who organizes it so I’m hoping to hear from her next week.

I asked what’s required of becoming a member of a church. He said, attending church with regularity, giving what you are able to give to support the church so that it can continue to do good work for the community, being involved with a ministry that serves people, i.e., the saturday breakfast. He said he is unaware of how much money his partitioners give. He knows the grand total at the end of the month, but not who is giving what. I thought that was good to know. I told him right now I can only offer $5 a week and he said that was great.

He sat with his hand on his heart as I told him my tale. I told him how I’ve struggled with religion, about my history of suicide attempts, and my husband cheating and abandoning me. He’s such a sweet man I didn’t really want to overwhelm hin. Hopefully he’s heard worse stories!

All I know is it feels like a good fit. I’m reaching out to people and that is not easy for me. It will pay off. It already has.

I spent the morning taking photos of items I want to put on eBay and then putting the stuff in bins and cleaning the house for my mom. I can hardly move in my bedroom, but the rest of the house looks great. I feel guilty that she’s ending up with company here (a niece and nephew and their partners) that came together sort of at the last minute while I’ll be driving to Portland to spend the night with my daughter. I can’t wait to be with her but I do have guilt pangs that I won’t be here helping my mom – although she’s just making homemade mac and cheese, not a turkey dinner! I just desperately need to get out of town and hang with my kid. I might even meet her boyfriend for the first time.

In the middle of the day I ran to the mall for the kids center and picked up the gifts that the public have bought so far for some of our kid clients who are underprivileged. There are people out there doing good. Those are the people I want to know. Not the people who think it’s a good idea to make their living by suing other people.

I hope that in the next several months something becomes clearer to me about which direction I should go in, and if I can handle working full time.

I’m trying to talk my husband into simplifying out agreement with one another to just split anything he or I get from the lawsuit in half, fifty-fifty. I told him they are marital assets and that’s how it should be. I hope he’ll agree and we can have it notarized and I can submit it with our divorce paperwork. Then I can begin to move on from him. I said, “Look, the sooner you agree, the sooner I’ll stop hounding you.”

We’ll see. I think in the end he’ll agree with that.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. No matter if you’re eating a full turkey dinner, mac and cheese, or Chinese food (as I plan to do). It’s a day to spend with people you love. I’ve always had a soft spot for Thanksgiving because it starts the Christmas season but the pressure of presents is absent. It’s more about being social and slowing down for a day.

Much love and peace.

 

There’s a Shift in the Universe

It’s been an interesting week. There are moments when I think of my STBX fucking a 20-something year old and I feel sick to my stomach. But in the last few days when I thought about whether he’d do the right thing and give me half of his mythical settlement money, I didn’t dwell on it for too long. There’s only so much I can do.

Tomorrow is church again already and I have a relatively busy week coming up and hopefully will spend the night on Wednesday with my daughter. I miss her so much.

Suddenly I started doing better on eBay and now have enough money to go up there and take her to dinner. I’m so thrilled. If I’m careful I’ll also be able to give my parents some money as well. I spend a lot of money on food here. It’s the way I contribute to the household. But with Christmas coming that bill will be much bigger.

I’ve now started selling things I really like, but I like seeing the Paypal account grow. I like the stuff, I don’t want to part with a lot of it, but I can always buy it again later, right?

This morning a fellow commenter on the Chump Lady website asked for my eBay store link and I gave it to her, but added I was doing so just as a way of letting people get to know me, and not to make sales off my fellow chumps. About an hour later someone bought four items totaling well over $100. I knew immediately it was my fellow chump and I just stopped and cried.

This is a stranger who comforts me on the website when my feelings of despair become overwhelming. I am so humbled by her act I hardly know how to process it. It feels like the universe suddenly became a little more balanced. Even now I am crying again just thinking about it. It’s been so long since I’ve experienced something so positive from my fellow man and it makes me want to do something nice for someone as well.

I’m simply blown away by her very generous act. Speechless, really.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the Chump Lady website. Most of the people there are very eloquent, well spoken, witty, but also very caring. I actually feel honored to be among them. We were the one in our relationship that chose not to cheat — we’re basically the good guys. They help me be as tough and strong as I’m able to be.

Because of my emotional issues, when I get depressed I often tend to have really awful knee jerk reactions. I almost instantly feel utterly hopeless. When I post there in those moods I feel that people will get really sick of how hard this is for me and feel that I should be further along in the process. But my god they are patient. It’s teaching me so much. I know (at least right now) that I’ll come through this some day. But it’ll be thanks in large part to my fellow commenters on the website.

My parents have fought badly this week. My mom gets super wound up at the holidays making it harder for my dad to smile and nod at her demands. She’s a real ball buster, as he says. She really is. I cringe when I hear her boss him around as though he’s a five year old. Every now and then he bites back, then she doesn’t speak to him for a couple of days then the whole thing starts again. It’s such a sad situation for both of them.

I want to convey something very subtle that my mom did tonight. This, although subtle, is very telling about her mindset.

She knew I was trying to get to Portland to see my daughter and we were talking about my schedule for the week. I said that on Tuesday I have a therapist appointment, an appointment with the priest at church, and then I’ve committed to the kids center for the afternoon.

Then she said the weirdest thing. She said, “Can’t you cancel the appointment with the priest?”

I looked at her rather dumbfounded. I said, “What good will that do? I have two other commitments that day.”

She had no answer. But this sums my mom up. This is her way of being resentful that I’m meeting with a minister. She doesn’t want me to go there. She doesn’t want me to get a “church family” and, gasp, she really doesn’t want me to belong anywhere.

Why? Well, because she never could. As I’ve mentioned she dragged me from church to church as a kid and except for a couple of exceptions, we never stayed more than a few months at the same one. She always decided the women were bitches, but I know it’s because my mother is extremely competitive and she probably found she couldn’t work her way into the inner sanctum of church politics. Or perhaps she found all the women fawning over the minister. I don’t know. I only know that she was never happy with any church.

Imagine considering yourself a devout Christian and yet begrudging your own flesh and blood some peace in her heart out of pure resentment.

That just doesn’t jibe. I feel really sorry for her. I’ve truly never known a more unhappy person. I wish she could have found happiness in her life.

So later on as we discussed who needed the shower first tomorrow morning she said, “What are you doing?” And I said, “Going to church.” And for a brief moment I felt as though I just said, “Meeting my husband for brunch.” I mean it’s absurd that I basically feel frightened of her reaction that I’m going to church. Absurd!

It even feels weird to type the word “church” because it’s something I turned my back on many, many years ago. It’s only now when I have nowhere to turn and am desperate to survive this that I seem to be turning in that direction. I’m actually not thrilled that I’m starting going right at the beginning of the Christmas season because I’m not sure how I feel about Jesus, but I do have a strong feeling about God and when I’m at that church I feel him.

My STBX (soon to be ex) messaged me this evening about his case. He said a few interesting things and said he’d expand on them tomorrow. I can’t divulge much here because this is a public blog. But I refuse to stall my life for this unicorn money any longer.

But I did have a somewhat interesting idea to help me try to let go of trying to keep track of him and what he’s doing as far as potential money goes. I thought perhaps I could ask him to meet briefly with me and the minister just to say in front of another living breathing human being that he plans on doing right by me. I realize he can lie, but I know he believes strongly in a karmic force so I think he’d do it for me and I think he’d be mostly honest.

Perhaps it will allow me to let go. I’m so tired of feeling I need to monitor him. I want him to sign the agreement, promise the minister, and then let him go and trust my fate. I’m really, really tired of him, his opinions, his intensity, his dishonesty.

He’s also working on becoming an American citizen (thanks to me) and sponsoring his daughters. He doesn’t need to be married to me to make that happen any longer because we’ve been together too long. It’s too bad they don’t care about whether your immigrant ended up being a cheating dick. But I wouldn’t jeopardize his process because I want his daughters to have the opportunity for a better life than the one they have now.

It’s after midnight and I need to get to sleep. Thanks, as always, dear readers, for being here for me.

 

 

 

Wanting to Release it All to the Universe

I met with an attorney today for a free consultation. He was a friend of someone who works at the kids center where I volunteer, otherwise even the consultation would have cost me.

He was a nice guy and the bottom line is this: we have no assets to divide except this mythical case. There’s no point in selling the last of my jewelry to retain him or anyone else. I told him how my STBX and I discussed (just this a.m.) having an agreement notarized and submitting it as an exhibit in our dissolution of marriage paperwork with the court. He thought this is pretty much all I can do.

He said if his mom or friends are giving him money to live on that they’d be considered gifts and I could not touch them anyway. He said theoretically he could be asking me for support! Hah. Oh my god.

He said the agreement I had with my husband that his lawyer had been holding isn’t worth the paper it was written on because his lawyer is not my lawyer. He does not have my interests at heart. I knew that. I was just trying to have a little faith in my STBX since I could not afford to hire my own attorney.

He did look up that the current case is not closed and he did say that is odd, given that the court date was over a month ago. He can’t know anything other than that, but it was good to know it didn’t show it as closed and finalized.

He said something about deciding whether it’s time to move on with my life without him in it and that’s where my head is right now. It’s time.

I’ve written up a new contract and emailed it to my STBX. He and I will go back and forth about it a few times and then we’ll go to the courthouse and file it with our dissolution of marriage paperwork. When that happens I will do everything I can to release this issue to the universe.

I can’t depend on one penny of it coming to me. I must move on with my life. If I end up getting ten grand in a year, well, that’ll be great. Fifty grand? Even better.

I’m sort of enjoying my eBay business but it’s just not adding up to anything. Also I still buy stuff that doesn’t sell far too often. Yesterday I spent an hour at my storage unit trying to go through some bins. I ended up taking three bags of charity shop stuff back to the charity shop because I know by now that certain things are not worth the effort.

Then I filled a bin to overflowing with good charity shop stuff and just my own personal things and lugged that back home. I’m going to try to list them online in the next few days. I’m desperate to make money to go visit my daughter next week, and to give her a little money for Christmas.

There are other issues with my eBay business as well, like how I’m spending far too much money on shipping and also I let people bargain me down too far. Gah. I wish I could be selling something unique, something easy to ship, as I had planned months ago.

But I can’t work on eBay tomorrow because I have to report for jury duty at 8:30 a.m. Pretty funny considering, isn’t it? I don’t mind. It’s usually just dull and a waste of time because jury trials get settled before they take place.

I just got a call from the priest at the church I went to. I’ve arranged to meet with him in his office next week. Later that day I meet with my therapist. I will be telling both of them that I need to and want to begin to let go of all this stuff.

As the attorney told me today, if he wants to screw me over he probably can screw me over especially because he could take off to the UK. I may not have faith in my husband, but I would like to have faith that whatever happens with this lawsuit, I’ll be okay in the end.

I’ve been looking at want ads, as usual, but I will increase the hunt. I don’t want to work full time because I’m still not certain I can handle it, but if that’s my only option, I will. However, I will be picky about where I apply since I can’t afford to have a nervous breakdown on the job, now can I?

Speaking with my husband today I restated that I just can’t imagine why, after working fairly well together before the trial, he suddenly had to go and get so dishonest with me. He actually started to lie again. I interrupted him and said, “Stop. Just stop there. Stop lying.” And he did.

I realized I wanted to get off the phone quicker than he did. He’s too overpowering and too intense. He’s just too much.

I want this to be over. I want him to go away. But in the meantime I will begin again to pick up the pieces.

 

 

Selling the Last Thing of Value I Have

I’m half depressed and half angry tonight.

Tomorrow I go to have a consultation with an attorney. But all I can think of is if my husband hadn’t begun to lie to me I would not be “lawyering up” right now. I’d put it off.

I am so resentful that I have to sell the only pieces of gold jewelry I have left. I mean, this is just so wrong. During my association with him I lost everything I had: my home, savings, 401ks, and good credit rating. I have nothing now. NOTHING. And yet here I am selling the last nice things I own.

I don’t want to do it.

I don’t want to literally have to lose everything just to get rid of him.

And I don’t know if he’s in the States or not. I don’t know if he’s lying about having an appointment with an attorney in Portland on Friday. And he doesn’t know that I know he bought a car and a lot of other things.

I have a theory about the money he’s been spending. Just a theory, but it’s based on what I know about him and his spending habits.

His mother probably began to give him money (or loan it to him) based on the fact that he was certain to get a settlement in October. That didn’t happened, so I don’t know if she’ll keep the dough coming or not.

I know a lot of what he’s been buying. All purely frivolous stuff including the car that’s a spendy one to maintain. That’s how he was with me too. That’s how he got joy in his day to day life. He would never admit that it added up, no matter how I tried to show him. “Why do you need more ties?!” He looked at me as if to say, “If you have to ask you are not civilized.”

Do you know I used a credit card to buy a fucking Mercedes in London (one that ate gas like candy) for 3,500 pounds ($5,000) and when we went to trade it in nine months later before we came back here they bought it from us for 300 pounds. But no, he could not get a reasonable car. He had to be seen in a nice car with leather interior. It ended up being in the shop for weeks at a time mostly because we couldn’t pay to get it back.

Once we were in Central London with his daughters and one of them kept asking for stuff to eat and it was adding up and we were really broke and only going out to save our sanity. I felt resentful every time another five pounds was spent for her to have pizza or a waffle or an ice cream.

I said to him, outside of earshot of the girls, that I didn’t understand why we can’t tell them we’re on a budget. That we can’t say, “Girls, we will give you 5 pounds each to spend on whatever you want, but that’s it.”

He really blew up at me. Completely out of proportion. I was actually genuinely surprised he took that so hard. It mystified me.

He said that his girls wouldn’t want to spend time with us if we said we were on a budget.

I told him that the girls aren’t like that and if they were, whose fault would that be?

No getting through to him.

It’s an Iranian thing to never say no. Ever. To everyone, but especially your kids. Well, you don’t say ‘no’, but by your actions you express it. So if the girls asked for something instead of the truth, they got ridiculous lies and stalling techniques. It seemed so silly to me. But it definitely was a cultural thing. Children must feel spoiled.

His daughters would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to see that we barely had two cents to rub together. But we could never directly address that.

I’m sure his pride was mixed up in there too. His kids have lived with his mother for so long that they call her ‘mom.’ She’s been the only constant in their lives. He has never supported them.

But right now all their dad can think about is that he has a classic car, a twenty-something girlfriend, vintage sunglasses, and a future in America. That’s it. Why are narcissists so amazingly shortsighted?

He was lucky enough to simply push the delete button to make me disappear. He’s the luckiest man in the world.

I’m filled with such hatred for him right now. Do you know how much I love this ring? 18k with a huge tourmaline and some small diamonds. One of a kind, made locally. I won’t get enough for the whole retainer, so that even makes me feel worse about selling it. Fifty seven years old and can’t scrape up three grand. I am so ashamed.

I’m going to meet with the attorney and then decide about the jewelry. If he thinks something can be done to protect my future, then I’ll sacrifice one more thing.

I’m such an effing chump! I should have known he was only being decent with me before the trial because it was before the trial. He has no reason to be decent with me now.

I can’t get it through my thick skull that the man I fucked and lived with for eight years truly doesn’t care what becomes of me. It makes me so ashamed to think about what a true gentleman my last husband was.

I’m so tired of this shame and humiliation. I want to rid myself of it somehow. I’ve done enough penance and will continue to struggle as I figure out how to put my life together. When I think about my future I go into a complete panic and have to force myself to shove the thoughts aside. I have no future. I have no future love interest. I am in utter despair.

I emailed the priest at the church I went to on Sunday and asked to meet with him. I need to belong. I need to find hope. I need an emotional net.

I don’t think I’ll ever get over that I was intimate with a man who has no regard whatsoever for me. I had heard people like him existed, but never knew one up close and personal before.

How I wish I hadn’t.