When I was 23, I got married. If I had known what know now, I never would have married my first husband. I certainly would not have gotten married at the ae of 23. But for some reason I did get married. I put college aside, and several other dreams, and I married a man who I thought was a great guy. Even though, I think I subconsciously I did know that things were not quite right.
For some reason, I ignored red flags that I had never ignored in the past with other men. I made excuses for the behavior that I knew was wrong or unhealthy. I ignored his impulses and reckless spending habits. I made excuses like, “Oh, nobody is perfect. I need to stop being so picky.” I think I felt bad because he told me that he never felt a part of his family once his mother remarried. He felt misunderstood. Because I was a psychology major, I wanted to be understanding and help him work through things. I played therapist before I was a therapist.
I wanted to help this man. I thought I could fix him. And honestly, many of the things he did were things guys do when they’re younger. I thought he would outgrow certain behaviors, and I was going to help him do it. Together we would grow up, and conquer the world. But that didn’t happen.
As time passed, my ex husband’s behavior became more erratic. I’ll give him credit. He did manage to hold it together for a fairly long time. He fooled me, my friends, my family, and his own family. It was about five years into the marriage that things started to get really strange. The little annoying things he did turned into erratic behavior.
The reason I am sharing this story is because I know there are a lot of people out there who have been fooled by someone they love. They feel as if something is wrong with THEM, and they are ashamed to admit they were fooled by someone they love. It happens a lot more than people realize, and it happens to all types of people. You should not feel shame for wanting to believe that someone can change for the better, and that you can help them do it.
We want to see the good in people, so we sometimes ignore the bad. Something else that people may not realize is that people who deceive us possibly have a personality disorder, or mental illness, and they are good at hiding this fact. In my case, I realized that my ex husband probably has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I can’t say for sure because I am not his therapist, and I never interviewed or questioned him. I am certain that he learned bad habits, and how to be dishonest from family members, because I personally witnessed things that they did and said that were not acceptable. Do I still beat myself up for being fooled by my ex husband? No. I no longer do. I have forgiven myself and moved on. I have taken this experience and learned from it. I can’t say that I’m glad I went through what I did, but at least now I can help others recognize this type of person. I can help others move on.