Monday, June 13, 2011

Will the Real Crazy Please Stand Up?

I haven't been able to hold onto much in the way of thought process today, though I wish I could somehow summarize all that has happened in that internal landscape in the last 24 hours. 

Forgive me if this is less poetic than mechanical. I'm feeling fragmented and feel the need to be linear to find my bearings. We'll see how this goes. 

I've read a lot in the last few years to try to understand what is going on in my relationship, to make sense of what is happening to me, what is happening for him. I've read about sex addiction, sociopathy, narcissistic personality disorder, depression, trauma, PTSD, and C-PTSD. Of course I diagnosed each of us with all of the above with the first half of the list going to him, and the second half to me. 

The need to understand has been fierce. All driven by the deep yearning for definitive answers about what to do. And all this knowledge has made me an armchair expert, able to explain in small bits rather eloquently the complexity of the sex addict-partner relationship, but it has not really ever given me the magic answer(s) I longed for. All the while I was sliding further and further into the black hole. 

One thing I wanted to know, for sure, was Roi inherently good at the core who had just caught a nasty disease, or was he inherently evil using a "good guy" facade in order to keep everyone off balance just enough to allow him to continually escape consequences? 

I also wanted to know, for sure, just who was the crazy one in this relationship.  In the beginning it was really disorienting the way he handled things. He once told me about an incest incident in his family of origin, and it was just tossed into the conversation with no set-up, no pause for reaction, no follow-up. My brain was all, "wait, what? Rewind, rewind, what the hell was that?". When I interrupted Roi to go back to that topic he seemed perplexed that it even warranted attention.

I need some good analogy for this odd behavior. All that comes to mind is the cartoon image in my head of one person sitting back in a chair, completely at ease, chattering endlessly. Speech bubbles surround the speaker's head and they are filled with shocking thoughts and actions like, "One time, my brother slept with my step-mother. He was like, 16 I think." or "My mother often left me at the movies while she went shopping for men. I was, I don't know, 4 I think?" or "I used to think I was addicted to porn".  The listener sits with a look of puzzlement and concern, and that person's head is transparent and you can see that several wrenches have been thrown into the inner gears and things are starting to smoke in there.

And there's just one source of "the crazy" that has been relentlessly building in me.

I've read in many many places stories of partners wondering if they really are the one that has been crazy all along. Sometimes these questions are still being asked by people who've been separated from their partner for a significant amount of time. They wonder if the addict, or the NPD, or the sociopath, or the [insert your favorite personality disorder here] was right, because it sure can look that way. When your partner can continue to function -- because some can stay mostly calm, functioning, and even look HAPPY through all that's going on -- and you're just losing your shit, and your hair, and your weight (or gaining it), and apparently your marbles, it doesn't make sense. If they're the crazy one, why are you the one that looks like you were released from the psychiatric ward three months too soon due to health insurance cut-backs? You've stepped through the looking-glass, and everything on this side is an endless puzzle you can never solve. It all begins to get real wobbly under the feet of your sanity.

I had one of those nights last night, and if I don't start to put every step toward the direction of the door, I'm going to lose my sanity completely.


  1. Oh honey... reading you, it was as if I was reading about my very own predator. (my fond nickname for the SA I was involved with). It is exactly the same (except he doesn't have a brother, but a sister and it was the same friggin story!) and I wish that I could tell you that he's just a nice guy who caught something nasty, but I don't think that's it at all.

    He's brain damaged. For whatever the reason and most are born with it and then its made worse, by abusive circumstances in childhood. But, parts of his brain are actually either not working or they don't exist at all. He has little if any conscience and his "emotions" are snippets and rote phrases that he learned from a book or a movie or a couple he saw making out in the park. He cannot empathize and he cannot love... not really, because those are abstractions that he has no concept of. The only thing he can do is pretend-- well, sometimes... and he found out that if he pretended really, really, really well, that he could fool a lot of people into thinking that he was a really "nice" "good guy" and that he could charm the pants off of anything that moves. He's even fooled himself, but if a man has been blind all of his life, how do you describe the colors of the rainbow? He will try to convince you that the rainbow doesn't even exist... and even though you and everyone else can see it plain as day, he will come up with a convoluted dissertation on the ridiculousness of that notion and that is where the crazy begins to set in. Dare to challenge him and he will bellow and roar in kind, until you don't even know which way is up.

    That's mindfuck honey and its not you, its ALL him and I'm so, so sorry that this happened to you. And no, you can't ever solve him or heal him or make it any better (unless you simply sell him your soul-- and yes, that is always an option, but I don't recommend it).

    There is no cure for his affliction (unless he's the one in a million who works morning noon and night and even then... very unlikely) and like a tornado blazing a path of destruction, the only sure way to stay safe, is to get out of its way. The tornado IS fine. Its just doing what tornadoes do... Does a mosquito intend to hurt? Its just like that.

    Sane people fear they are losing it and insane people swear that they are normal. He's anything but normal.

    Hang in there. Reinforcements have arrived! best ~ Lexie

  2. I'm pulling for you from the other side. None of us have the answers but at some point self preservation kicks in and you go into auto pilot to save yourself, your very sanity. My SA husband had people believing it was all me (except my close friends). There were days, weeks, months where he had me at war with myself, some days I thought he was right...that I was the one with the problem. He was the victim of his upbringing, the "good guy" with a problem reaching back to his terrible childhood. A broken man child trying to do right and failing over and over, needing to be held up. I needed to be needed. That need almost destroyed me.

    Start funneling the energy back into you.

    I'm thinking of you and as I said earlier, pulling for you from the other side. No matter what you do, you aren't alone :).

  3. The second to last paragraph really grabbed me.

    Perhaps the difference is that we are not addicted, we are not using to escape from anything, so we are left in these very low-lying areas?

  4. I need someone to draw me that cartoon. :P

    Kelly, I think it's more than that. Firstly, Roi is mostly sober so much of the time he isn't escaping into one of the "substances" (I put that in quotes because sex addiction is in there and isn't technically a substance). I think it has to do with the complex coping needed by the addict to keep their addiction and continue to function. Denial, dividing and compartmentalizing, etc. and we don't have the same escape routes.