Trigger Warning: Suicide/Emotional Abuse
The inside of my truck cab is filled with empty beer cans and pill bottles. A suicide note sits next to me on the console. Two police officers stand outside the truck window. I blow cigarette smoke into the night as we wait for the ambulance. “You have a very worried friend in New Jersey,” the female officer tells me.
The last thing I remember is being in a bar with my wife and now, four hours later, I arrive to join my body in the here and now. Inside of me, washed down with Bud Light, are 90 Prozac, 60 Atarax, and 5o Excedrin tablets. Apparently, I was still going for it when the police showed up.
My truck is parked three feet from the curb and sideways down at the beach. I don’t know how I got here or what has been happening for the last four hours. Or why I have 200 pills inside of me.
I fade in and out of consciousness as my body is lifted into the ambulance.
As I am lifted off the stretcher into a hospital bed, my phone, now in the hospital safe, is receiving a text message from my wife saying that she is appalled by my behavior, lack of introspection, and sense of entitlement. All of this followed with her saying she is done. I won’t see this message until I get out of ICU three days later.
I don’t know how to use a catheter so I pee on the bed. “Can you stand up so we can change your sheets?” the ER nurse asks. I sit up a few inches and grab the bed railing. My body convulses, setting off the heart monitor. “I don’t think she can,” the other nurse says, resting her warm hand on my back. They wait for me to stop throwing up and when I can’t, roll me back and forth until the sheets are changed, again.
They put a diaper on me and ask if there is anyone they can call to be with me. I tell them no. I’m handed a new puke bag and the lights are shut off though the room is still light enough to see that I am now hallucinating.
The people who have known me for decades tell me that my wife is a narcissist. The therapist I have been with for two years tells me that my wife is a narcissist. My psychiatrist tells me that my wife is a narcissist. My wife will tell you that I am a narcissist. She will tell you that I am selfish, easily triggered, lacking empathy, negative, depressive, and overly concerned with how the world sees me.
My tribe reminds me that for the past 9 years I have bent over backward trying to make this relationship work and that my wife continually treats me like shit anyway. Our mutual friends see it. Newly met strangers see it. But I don’t. Even though I’m unhappy. Even though I’m depressed. Even though I’m anxious. Even though I’m scared. I make excuses for her when I’m in therapy. I enable her behavior because she’s had a hard life. I understand her so it’s okay. But it’s not okay. It hasn’t been okay. It will never be okay. Either she isn’t aware of what she is doing so she can’t change or she is aware and won’t change. Either way, it’s clear this is killing me.
When I do stand up for myself, she tells me I’m being defensive. When she pushes my buttons, she tells me I am triggered by everything. When I set boundaries, she ends the relationship. When she feels my anxiety from being around her, she tells me that I have bad energy. She tells me that I leave no space for her and everything is about me. She has said a million shitty things about me yet cannot hear one thing about herself or even understand what the “shitty things” she has said do to the foundation of reliability, safety, and trust. Then she will pull back and say that I’m unsafe, untrustworthy, and undeserving.
She reminds me there is a line of people behind me waiting to be with her as if I should be so lucky to be in her grace. She calls me a waste of life and a piece of shit. She says I never loved anyone but myself and that I’ve never trusted anyone. She takes her family and friends away from me and then says that I play the victim with my world. She tells me I am delusional when I say something about her and that I’ve got it all wrong and am trying to blame her for my own actions. She appears incapable of listening to anything about herself that is not within her control.
And so I have gotten myself into a very deep hole. I don’t say what’s on my mind because now I also believe that it’s selfish and instead I focus entirely on her needs, abandoning my own. Instead of letting things out, I push them down thinking that it’s selfish and victim-ish of me to speak of my own needs. And so I defer to her, scurrying away to fix something about myself.
I’ve been stripped down to my insecurities and vulnerabilities then preyed upon, asked to change myself to fit her life, and I have no idea where my self-esteem went. I can’t do anything right and there is pressure to be a certain way or the wedding ring comes off, again. Or she says that it’s over, again. I’m hyper-focused on her needs and the ever-looming threat of abandonment if I don’t acquiesce. I am blamed for her unhappiness. Things are wonderful when I am complying with her requests and the minute I challenge something, I am punished with criticism and abandonment.
She will tell you that I lied to her about who I was before we moved in together. She will say that she was honest about who she was but she didn’t say that she was also unhealthy with her own issues. Or that she needs the whole world to be her stage and that my place is in the front row with popcorn and to never, ever question the show. She didn’t tell me that she would build me up only to break me. She didn’t tell me she would make me fall in love with her only to use me and then leave when something better comes along. She didn’t tell me that she would move freely into my psyche to rip everything apart and then leave it broken. She didn’t tell me that she would hate who I would become because of it and then abandon me because I repeatedly can’t get my shit together.
So when the hospital psychiatrist asks me what was going on before I took the pills, I am unsure how to answer him. Do I say I am tired after years of this? That I feel betrayed by the one person who said they would never leave? That the one person who said they would love me like no other actually loved me less than any others? Instead, I look at him and say, “She told me earlier that day she was moving on with her life and no longer waiting for me to get my shit together. That the things she is doing cost money and she is not waiting to live her life anymore.”
“So did you try to kill yourself to get back at her?” he asks.
“No,” I say, “I was very adamant with my friends and hospital staff that she not be told.”
“Why not?” he asks.
“Because she will tell me that I am selfish, manipulative, and wasting city resources on my bullshit,” I reply.
“Why then?” he asks.
“I feel betrayed in ways I cannot explain. I feel abandoned in ways I cannot explain,” I explain, “I just wanted it to end. Fuck love, fuck people, this is all bullshit and I’m done.”
But was I done? Was all of this bullshit? This was clearly a huge message from the universe. I won’t listen to my therapist. I won’t listen to my psychiatrist. I won’t listen to friends. Maybe life was like “Wait, what? Hold my beer.”
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18002738255 is the national suicide prevention lifeline. Please, please call if you need help. You are not alone and this is only one moment in time. Please reach out.
Below is information on suicide.
Below is information on narcissistic abuse.