Have you ever seen that TV show Wife Swap? I remember when it first came out and I was married. It was crazy to me that women volunteered to swap families for a week. I was fascinated by watching how other couples lived and interacted. For the most part, the extremes made for good TV, but I had a hard time thinking they were realistic.
Now as I look back on my marriage as a divorcee, I think that people might have thought the same for my life and for what our relationship was. While there was no physical abuse, the emotional/mental stuff that went on was clearly unhealthy.
I scurried to make things good even when I was put down and disrespected. Ignored and chastised, I redoubled my efforts to please, but after awhile, I became apathetic to jumping through hoops. While he could still hone in on my vulnerabilities, I became more numb until jolted by criticism or thrown a bone of approval which I so desperately clung to because in my head, it meant he still loved me. It was not a good time in my life and I will admit that I co-created the mess because I was blinded by his NPD.
I watched Celebrity Wife Swap today. Flavor Flav and Dee Snider swapped wives for a week. I sat quietly on the couch questioning why I was watching such a ridiculous program. But I was starkly reminded of how disengaged married couples can become and how when we’re in that pattern for a long enough time, we feel like it’s normal. So the swap was beneficial because the wives got to see how other families function.
What you put up with is what you get, even when the bar goes higher and you continue to jump through hoops for approval. A healthy marriage/relationship is always a give and take and a compromise. Too bad I succumbed to thinking that because he was the breadwinner that I had no say and that my life was all about making him happy.
We are each responsible for making ourselves happy. It’s better if we can be happy together. If not, please get out now. It doesn’t get any better. Believe me.