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My ex, a covert narcissist, took a low paying job rather than work for more in our business.  He did this just as it was time to start support negotiations.  He claims he is selling our business (a restaurant) because he has to work too many hours, and he’s getting too old – he needs a break.

In the meantime, despite his claims each month that the business is going to settlement, it remains in our names.  For perspective, the 1st month it was going to settlement was September.  We are now nearing the end of the 7th month since he allegedly entered into a sale agreement, but we haven’t actually sold.  Perhaps it will sell this week, but I doubt it.  It’s his private piggy bank.

My 15 year old has come back from his past 3 visitations telling me how unhappy his dad is at his new job.  He hates it because they “don’t let him cook”. I can understand why this would upset him so.  Chef’s get kudos, not managers.   While everyone is complaining to management and wait staff, the Chef is being praised and applauded.  Any issues with the food are surely the result of service, or a management issue.  So of course, he is unhappy.  He is getting all of the crap and none of  praise.  This though, is the job he claimed he needed because he couldn’t handle the physical work  demanded of a chef.

The 1st two times my son told me how unhappy his dad was this I rolled my eyes (after turning my head, so my son wouldn’t see it).  I could clearly envision his dad, shoulders slumped,  a scowl on his face, sighing loudly to capture the attention of everyone around, then exclaiming how terrible his life has become because of this new job.  Today though, something different happened.

My son stayed home from school sick and laid in bed with me for a while in the morning.  It was actually nice.  Since I didn’t have to compete with his friends, who were in school, he was willing to give me some time.  While laying in bed chatting he told me again how unhappy his dad was at his new job.

As I was getting ready for yoga I got to wondering why, if his dad is so unhappy, he doesn’t just go back to  the restaurant.  It hasn’t sold, and he is now locked in to a lower alimony payment, so what is stopping him from dumping this misery causing job?  Before I left I mentioned this to my son.  He said he’d expressed the same thing to his dad and he wasn’t really clear what his dads answer had been.

As I drove to class I found myself wondering if I should contact his dad and say “hey, you are locked into your alimony, all I want is my & our sons medical paid, so ditch the stupid job and go back to the restaurant.  I won’t harass you; I don’t care what you do there”.   This was a passing thought on my way in to the yoga studio.  By the time I left yoga I was composing the email in my head.  I was working on phrasing it just right so that it wouldn’t sound like I was telling him what to do, it wouldn’t sound emasculating and it would sound sincere.  I almost had it completely composed when

I WOKE THE HELL UP!!

I won’t chide myself for falling for his “victimhood” status.  In fact, there is part of me that really wants this man to be happy.  (Not all of me, but I hope to get there some day)  Is it ludicrous that I fell for his victim stance?  YES.  I spent 25 years trying to save my poor victim of a spouse, and here I am, 3 years post-separation, still doing it!!  Good Lord, what will it take??

What I am really upset about is the fact that I thought, even for a few brief moments, that I had anything to do with any of this.  Seriously?  I honestly believed that if I expressed consent he would feel free to go back to the business?

Did I really think that this has anything at all to do with me?  When will I learn???

When will it sink in to this sappy little heart of mine that everything he does is for a reason – a reason I will never know, and usually can’t even fathom.  While he might have taken this job initially because of me, to reduce his alimony payments, he certainly hasn’t  continued it because of me.  He could have walked away the minute we agreed to our settlement, which was 1/17.  There is a no modification on the alimony, meaning he can go back to the business whenever he wants, pay himself whatever he wants and I can’t touch it.  Obviously he is getting something else from playing victim right now.

  • Perhaps the new girl was upset about his work hours, and he is breaking her down.  He’ll be the poor, miserable sap, dutifully going to a job he hates everyday, for her.  Only for her.   Naturally, he’ll complain about it daily, and he will wear it like a badge of honor.  He’ll walk around with a constant scowl, he’ll slump his shoulders so low he’ll look like the hunchback, and he’ll groan, loudly, with every step.  Then, he’ll tell her how he will do anything for her, all the while knowing eventually she will break and tell him to go back to the restaurant.
  • Maybe he told his family that I was the only reason he continued to work at the restaurant.  If that is the case, which I think it is, he’ll have to keep it up for a while, to prove it was I, not himself, that made his life miserable.
  • Maybe he’s trying to impress upon his children what a long-suffering, steadfast dad he is.  After all, if they view him as always getting a raw deal they won’t ask him for much.  If they believe he is constantly abused in some way they won’t come to him for support, advice, money……anything.  What a great way to be Father of the Year without having to be Father of the Year!!  The kids will believe he is Father of the Year, because he suffers in this job for them, yet he actually has to do no parenting.  Genius, really.

I am sure there are other possible manipulative perks he could be getting from this charade.  I’m sure there are angles I can’t even imagine, because my brain doesn’t work that way.

The most I can do is remind myself that he is no longer my monkey, and his life is certainly not my circus.

What a relief!!

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