Stockholm Syndrome


There are so many things I’ve been unable to say to you; to shed light on my state of mind and what drove me to the choices that I made.

Yet somehow, I have a strong feeling that even if you were privy to my deepest thoughts, in the end it would make no difference because you truly don’t care. As long as you have someone else to blame, who cares about the truth?

Our story started with a whirlwind, when we both were at our darkest moments. Had I been in a better mental state, I would not have chose you for a life partner. But you filled me with your interest, you pursued me and made me feel desired, and you gave me a damsel in distress to save. And not just a damsel, but her kids, too. So you see, I got to be the good guy. My life found purpose after my attempt to end its meaningless existence just months prior, and I let it shape my entire future. Partly because I did not how to say “no”, especially to someone in need, but also because of how good it felt in the moment.

Our whirlwind romance moved quickly to marriage within the one-year window, by which point you were already pregnant with my first child, and your third. I’d come too far, started building this life that I didn’t hate, but could not fully admit to being in love with, despite the lies I told myself. Yes, I learned to love you, despite our differences, but it was never easy.

Our biggest failure was never learning how to effectively communicate. Whenever I would fall victim to my own depression, any attempt to communicate that fact sent you spiraling into a depression of your own, which forced me to suck it up to take care of you. You were often the victim, looking for attention and support no matter the issue. If I tried voicing an issue, it became some kind of trigger for you, as you inferred I was attacking your character. And so I learned real quick to just shut up and take it while I tried to handle your occasional OCD meltdowns and manage my own mental health issues.

I sacrificed my own work and sleep schedule for the sake of our family, working overnights as need be to make ends meet, although you were never willing to make such compromises. I was far from perfect, I’ll be the first to admit, but I gave everything I had because I was all in, and although you did do things for me, I always felt inadequate and your care, disproportionate.

It all came to a head when your drinking got out of control and we forced you into rehab. Your true nature came out that day as you kicked and fought for all you were worth. You refused to acknowledge you had a problem or that you needed help. You kept crying about how much you needed your family instead of seeing the damage you had already done to it, and to me. You have always been manipulative and focused on what YOU want and although I am not a medical professional, I have observed numerous narcissistic qualities over the course of our relationship which have made things difficult, to say the least.

With you in rehab, however, the burden of the world was pressed harshly on my shoulders. I accumulated debt in an attempt to stay afloat on my pitiful income. I tried fruitlessly to either sell or rent the house as I could not afford the mortgage, and moved in with our MIL who was kind enough to open her house to me and our kids. I worked my ass off and took so much shit from you, for the sake of the kids. It got to a damn near breaking point in rehab, and I came so fucking close to leaving you right there. But for some reason, I did not. I gave you one final chance, and that is the chance you finally took and “did something” with. Due to issues with the facility, you were released earlier than scheduled and came home, just like you always wanted. And I welcomed you back, albeit skeptically.

You weren’t drinking anymore, but really alcoholism is just a symptom of other underlying problems. The narcissism got worse, as did your OCD. I already felt so distanced from you, despite trying so hard to love and accept you back. You supported me in my attempt to be healthier and work out, but my mental capacity was already strained and continued to be neglected. Our physical intimacy began to wane as a result and although you may not have noticed, we began drifting further apart. For some reason, this experience brought you “closer to God” and you did everything you could to express that in every facet of your life.

For me, however, this experience had the opposite effect. What faith I had in God had been shattered. I did everything right. I prayed. I worked. I remained faithful. I stood by your side while you were being an entitled brat, I was forced to handle our affairs, make incredibly difficult decisions every single day and in the end, you’re the one that got what you wanted and I continued to get the short end of the stick. The suicidal thoughts started up again. I even mentioned this once to you and your only terse response was “I know”, dripping with apathy and indifference. After that statement, the desire to leave you grew stronger and stronger each day.

I don’t know why I did it, but I still went along with everything for your sake and that of the kids. We’d planned a fun vacation, and while at that point I was already convinced I was going to leave, I didn’t have the heart to do so. I naively figured maybe this trip would fix things or give us a fresh start. But of course nothing changed. I was already feeling so distant from you, and not once during our whole trip did you even really show any interest in me, physically or otherwise, and I was just too tired and emotionally drained to initiate anything myself. So I focused on my time with my daughter and made the most of it that I could.

When we got home, it was the same old thing. That second night after we were home, however, I was just up late playing a video game with a buddy. You were feeling lonely or depressed or whatever and asked me for a hug. I acquiesced, but was not ready for bed yet and tried to leave so I can go back to my game. This triggered you and you yelled at me, saying that I was acting like I hated you, so you marched up to our guest room, presumably waiting for me to chase you to have that “talk”, as I did not immediately refute your claim.

At this point, I had already decided I wanted to leave, however the timing was so so bad… We just got back from a “great” family trip that everyone loved. And our anniversary was in just a couple days, and so I intended on having that discussion in at least a few weeks. But your reaction forced my hand, and I told you I wanted a divorce and just couldn’t keep doing this. You, of course, reacted poorly, and despite my best attempts to explain myself, you could not accept it and pleaded to keep trying. But I could not, because I knew how this would end. You’d try for a little bit, then once you were comfortable, it would be the same old shit and I’d be fucked and trapped all over again.

For once in our relationship, I stood my ground and did not give in to your manipulation or advances. I just couldn’t do it… I had to take care of myself for a change and this relationship with you just wasn’t doing it. It reminded me of my own parents relationship, and how my dad rode it out with my mom for the sake of the kids, and then separated once my younger sister graduated high school. I did not want to turn into that, spending years miserable in my own declining mental state.

At the same time, the kids were at the very top of my mind and my main priority. I did not wish to see them displaced and wanted to minimize the impact this divorce would have on their lives. And so I opted to leave the house. I took on a second job so that you could still afford to pay all of the bills. You received all the pay from my primary job so you wouldn’t be affected by any lost income, especially considering our finances were never in the best place. I still managed paying all the bills as that was my responsibility. I found an apartment I could afford on my second income, even though it was not as close as I’d have liked it to be, and was able to squeak out a living on that second income. Eventually we filed for divorce, and being the foolish idiot that I am, I gave you fucking everything: the house, the nicer car, full time with our joint child. Due to my second job and technically higher income, as well as more limited time with my daughter (one night a week), my child support payments were much higher than they’d be otherwise, not that I cared then because I was already paying you far more than required.

But you see, I met someone else. Someone who actually paid attention to me and says she loves me for who I am. She would lift me up when I need to be uplifted. She would listen without interrupting. I was allowed to speak freely about my issues without judgment, or bring up any issues I had with her without being accused of attacking her. There was no obligation to develop or stay in the relationship, but for once I actually felt like I had a choice, and I did choose her. She has been my rock through all of this. Unfortunately, it is a long distance relationship as she lives in another country, but it feels so much more real and genuine a relationship than ours ever really did. If we have an issue, we sit down and resolve it. We work together to reach our goals and she is always making time for me, and I for her.

However, with this new breath of life, I’ve come to realize the full extent of my fuckup: She wants a family with kids. I want nothing more than to give that to her. But because of how I handled divorcing you, I made things SO much harder on us. Because I could not afford a lawyer, I did not have one available to tell me that giving you the house and the car with no stipulations was a dumb fucking idea that would affect me for decades to come. I gave you the house without thinking of the long-term ramifications, and now although my name is still on the mortgage, I have no say in whether or not to sell it, yet it is my credit that is still being affected and the chances are very slim to be able to purchase another house or car down the line with my future wife.

My fiancee also brought up all the money I was giving you to keep you afloat, and I’ve heard from a few other people who are close to me that I am being FAR too accommodating financially, and so I started scaling back, especially once I saw how freely you were still spending. I gave you more than reasonable notice for the cutback, although you still took it harshly despite me being able to see so many unnecessary purchases from our joint account and that account being overdrafted constantly. So first I cut back my contribution by several hundred dollars and forced you to take care of managing all the bills and accounts. Then a few months later, at the suggestion of those closest to me, I determined to only pay the minimum child support payment, once again giving you a few months notice to make the necessary arrangements so I could start saving up for my a life with my future spouse.

I have gone way above and beyond for you and the kids, at the expense of myself. If I could have a do-over, I would absolutely force the sale of the house, pay off our debts, get more time with my daughter, and live my best life. Instead, I’ve sacrificed so much because of you, and yet I am still the villain in the minds of everyone you know. I still considered your sons, who had called me “Dad” for six years, to be mine and tried to accommodate them on visitation nights. But at some point, through your own rhetoric, they decided I was the bad guy and wanted nothing to do with me. You told them and anyone who would listen that I abandoned you and them despite everything I fucking tried to do. I’ve seen you on social media recently, still bashing and shaming me for what I did so you can garner sympathy from all your friends and followers.

Even when you let a fucking convicted felon stay in your house, around your kids, for months, you did nothing. Perhaps you didn’t know right away, which is fair. Seemed like a decent enough guy, right? My daughter didn’t mention any red flags, and so I didn’t try to raise any. But you found out at some point who he was, but even then not a word to me to take our daughter and keep her safe. You let him control you and your life, get you drinking again, take the gun you kept in the house, deal drugs and god knows what else for weeks before things came to a head. Once I found out, I ran up there to get our daughter out of there and kept her for several days while things appeared to escalate. He threatened you then ran off, then got arrested shortly after. So happy ending I suppose. I fully intended to keep our daughter, despite the emergency hardships I would have faced still working two jobs, not having any child care lined up (or being able to afford it if I did), among other issues, but I was already working hard to get through it.

At first, I thought we had an understanding, but maybe I just caught you in a “moment of weakness”. I was able to stand my ground with you, lay out all the shit you just put everyone through, and made it clear I intended to keep our daughter because that is what was best for her after you completely broke any trust I had remaining in you. You seemed resigned to all of this, accepting your failures and the consequences of your actions. But I knew it was too good to be true, as later in that day your temperament rose back up and you demanded that I bring her home to you, going so far as to flaunt the custody agreement and how I was already in violation of it.

We fought, with myself only getting more and more angry with you, knowing you don’t give a damn about our kid’s well-being, as long as you get what you want. I continued to stand my ground, going so far as to threaten getting a lawyer involved to take custody back. I knew I’d have a case. You broke the law a few times with this guy, started drinking again despite your documented alcoholic history, endangered the lives of our kids, etc. I can’t and won’t forgive you for all this.

But at the same time, I simply cannot financially afford a lawyer. I cannot financially provide for our daughter in the short term due to my own restrictive circumstances. And knowing you well enough, although you are to blame for a lot of things, I knew this circumstance would likely be enough to scare you back into sobriety and you’d probably pick up where you left off. And after a few conversations with my inner circle, deemed that our daughter, for now, was better off in your care, and so I am not pushing that legal envelope just yet. And although it has been a couple months now since all this took place, it seems as though my predictions were correct.

But it astonishes me just how much you need a scapegoat. I’m no saint by any means, but I have done so much more for you and the kids than any ex-husband would even consider, considering the hostility I’ve received from you. I’ve bent over backwards and compromised my future, yet all you see is how entitled you are to that treatment and that it doesn’t “redeem” me. But I’m not looking for redemption from you. I don’t need any kind of relationship with you. I’ve never hated you, but you sure as hell do not have my respect.

The best decision I ever made was the one to leave. I have never felt more free than I do right now, not worrying about walking on eggshells, or hoping for a little attention or compassion. I am free to be who I am, with the ability to tell my lover what is on my mind and be able to work through it, not in spite of it. You held me captive from day one, and for a while I gave in to the Stockholm Syndrome. I fell in love, had a baby, got married, the whole 9 yards. Then just lived a life of constant compromise and bottling of emotions.

But once those rose-colored lenses fell and I saw more clearly exactly who you were and the god you served, I knew it was time to seek freedom. I don’t regret leaving you, not in the slightest. I only regret not fighting harder for those things I was entitled to in the aftermath and forcing you to figure things out for a change. Just know that I’ll be there the next time you fuck up. I’m already working on putting myself in a better position to care for my daughter when that happens, and there will be no more “Mr. Nice Guy” to cut you any slack.

With all due respect (or lackthereof),

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.