Paul

This post has been on hold for months, if not years. I am not sure why it has taken me so long to type the words I am about to write but know that they have been bellowing to be heard for many a moon.

I was baking a cake tonight. I noticed that the eggs that were once present were not. I asked him (after he sighed and said, “ugh, what now?)” if he remembered how many eggs were left when he made some. He said, very positively, that the kids could not have done it. I did not understand how 12+ eggs could have vanished.

This is just what he does. I must be crazy. These eggs never existed. Someone must have walked into our house and used them. Maybe I am not looking in the fridge hard enough. But under no circumstances did anyone do anything ‘wrong’ beside me.

gaslight
/ˈɡaslʌɪt/
verb
gerund or present participle: gaslighting
  1. manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity.

 

I did not even know this was a thing until the nurse I was seeing used the term. I did not notice how often he did it until this summer. I mentioned in this post that Paul and I had an argument. What I did not add was what the argument was about.

He had developed a crush on one of the mothers at Bowie’s school. We will for privacy’s sake call her Linn. He began making playdates with Linn’s daughter and Bowie which at first was cute.

Until one day he offered to take her and her daughter off to a cabin in Røros. He never asked if I minded if he did this. When I said I did mind (I told him if he wanted to spend the weekend with this woman to feel free to but to leave Bowie out of it), he made plans to take him against my wishes.

When I found out about it, I was upset. He told me that I was insane, I was a retard and I should be admitted to a hospital. He went off on me for more than 15 minutes about how awful I was. Mind you, he did this in front of Bowie. We were both in tears.

When Paul apologised, it was only to keep the peace. He did not mean it in the slightest. He was livid that I would stop him from making his move on this woman. I did not know this at the time, but he had not told her his intentions yet and without Bowie, he had no way of getting her alone.

He was using my son to pick up a woman.

He told me that he hated me. Never had he spoke words that felt more truthful since I have met him.

This was in July. Nothing has been the same since. He has been systematically dismantling my authority in the house. He yells at me in front of the kids, he tries to undo all of my rules (I have been the only one making and keeping them for the past two decades. He has never cared about parenting until now). He finds something wrong with everything I say and do. Instead of talking about it like adults, perhaps pulling me aside and asking me why this is like this or why that is like that he makes a scene to show everyone how much power he has.

He called a house meeting to let the kids know that he was in charge of things now and everyone was to report to him. He would be checking chores and the like – he has not done one thing he said he was going to do so everything defaulted back to me but now I have less respect than I did before. The kids now a power play when they see one. They know he will let them do whatever they want and I stick to my guns.

Then there is the CONSTANT chipping away at my sanity. Telling me things are not happening the way I say they are. He will do things just to have leverage against me.

When I tried to talk to him about how bad this has gotten and was there something I could do to make things better he said he felt like I was attacking him.

I asked him what I could do to help.
And I was attacking him.

If I point out that he is gaslighting me as he is doing it, he just stares at me like I am actually demented. Or he will get angry and throw something else awful at me. He needs to point out how bad everything is for him, even as he is belittling me.

He is in therapy and I wonder how much good it is doing him. In the beginning, I was hopeful. I mean, there were some really tense moments, like when he gave me “I am sorry I raped you” flowers. I did not know exactly how to accept those. He had been methodically taking advantage of me while I was dosed up on sleeping pills for years. I got pregnant during one of these episodes. Flowers? What kind of therapist suggests this?

He cheated on me for 75% of our marriage and he found a way to make this my fault too. I believed it was until recently as well. The narrative was simple. I was just not assimilating into this culture well enough and it stressed him out so that is how he found relief (with other foreign women, I would like to point out). It has only been in the past months that I have understood that as my husband he should have taken care to help me. He isolated me on purpose. He hated that as soon as I moved here I made friends within weeks – he lived here for years and had no friends. He resented me and punished me. He was supposed to be my advocate instead he became my jailor.

I took the blame from his parents as well. Everything that goes wrong in their lives is my fault (seriously. One day his dad was chopping wood and something went wrong and he blamed me. To this day I have no idea how I have so much power to ruin someone’s wood chopping experience).

When I mentioned how sick I was of being his family’s scapegoat, he said he was tired of being mine.

I read him the definition of a scapegoat. He said, “Oh. That is not what I meant.”

I asked him what he meant then. He had no answer.

People think he is the nicest human.
He does the strangest things.

When he gets pulled over by the police he changes his persona to country bumpkin – like he does not have a fucking Ph.D. It took me some time to understand how manipulative he was and how often he did things like this to make other people look “bad”. He pretends to be foolish or less than he is but he can be vicious when he needs to be… and lately, he is venomous.

When he fell for Linn he said, “She is the first woman that I have ever met that I could not imagine hurting”.

I remember sitting there thinking, “What in the real fuck? What about the rest of us? What about me? I am mother of your children you goddamn monster.”
I seethed, saturated, radiated in loathing for him in the moments that followed.

He hunted black and brown girls because they could be abused. We were disposable. Petite, middle-aged Norwegian women now they are the prize – they always were. He could treat women of colour like trash because he was always waiting for his princess.

I realised who he was right then.

He was talking about dating trans people too because he was open to the experience but what I heard instead was, “I like to date marginalised people because it gives me power”.

This is why he goes after the women that he does (fat, mentally handicapped, and/or woc) because he knows we are on the bottom of that totem pole so he will be coveted.

I was asked if I thought he was a good person that just sometimes does bad things or a bad person that sometimes does good things. I am not sure how to answer that question. If I were to make a list of the things he has done for me, the good is spotty because behind every positive action is something shitty. It is hard to separate the emotional abuse.

Yes, he was good to come back around to help out after Will died but it also gave him control again. I was nearly free from him – if you recall, Will and I were planning on getting married. We wanted to move to Stavanger and get the heck out of TRD.

Alas,

When I mentioned that I was dating again, Paul seemed pretty alright with it. He was doing his own thing so he did not give me any grief… until it looked like things might get serious and then he got bitchy. I tuned him out and then it did not matter, because this turned into a full-blown situationship so

No need to make a fuss about something that has not evolved yet (maybe there are not enough candies yet? Maybe I need to make him my buddy and walk with him for a while? I bet he would be like 100 KM per damn candy though 😂).

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