I’ve spoken about the gaslighting that I experienced when I was married. But I haven’t really discussed the other issues that are very difficult to overcome.
And it took me a while to realize that I am not alone in my experiences. When I posted this article to Facebook, my ex’s oldest friend responded with: “Christ! It’s like she knows him!”
There’s also “The Idealization-Devaluation-Discard Cycle”, “Smear Campaigns”, pulling in the “Well Meaning Witness” and the “Unlimited Masks.”. (I reworded/paraphrased the writer’s items)
The cycle is why I thought I was alone, that no one else experienced it. The fact that we went from him not being able to get enough of me, to absolute chastity. It was during the devaluation phase that he triggered all of my self-esteem issues, fitting it into his gaslighting so that I spent 14 years blaming myself for HIS sexual dysfunction. It wasn’t until I started to see him do it to another wife that I even had an inkling that there might be a bigger problem. And even with that, I had blinders on for most of the decade she was with us – refusing to see what he was doing to both of us.
Sadly, when I left him in 2014, those same activities were starting to happen with the last woman we brought into the relationship. This is the one he plans to marry again, making the relationship legal. I can hope she doesn’t take as long as I did to realize who he really is, but either way – it is no longer my responsibility.
The smear campaigns didn’t start until after I left him, and after I told him I would no longer be abused – at least the smears aimed at me. The smear about the other wife that left him, 6 months before I did, exploded all over the 2013 holiday season. Well, no, that’s not completely true. Every time someone left his life because they wouldn’t put up with his shit, he would fling as much mud as possible over the other person.