The deafening eerie silence of the narcissist’s silent treatment. It’s like hiding under a bed during a break-in hoping that the man with the gun doesn’t hear you move or even breathe.
You walk around your house tip-toeing ever so carefully. Not wanting to spark the anger rumbling beneath the surface. You answer questions carefully. You know you are in a no-win situation. The volcano is waiting to spew its ugly lava. Uncaring of the victims it will leave in its eruption. In this case, your family; the children and yourself.
You signal to the children behind the narcissist’s back to be quiet or walk away. Even the children don’t feel safe. For the next 2 days or maybe even 2 weeks you dread the sound of his car pulling in the driveway. You make his favorite dinner knowing full well it may not be his favorite dinner tonight but you are trying. You have the kids make sure all their toys are picked up and that they are excited to see Daddy but not too noisy.
He comes in the door. You say hello. He ignores you and walks straight to his office. The kids greet him. He says hello to them so you know, that at least for now, the kids are safe.
“Dinner!” They all come to the table. He sits there with that look on his face, his eyes black as coal even though when you married him, they were blue. You start to dish out food. The kids are eating…he’s poking his fork around. “I’m not sitting here! I’m eating in the living room.” He goes to the living room, leaving the family he barely sees, sitting at the table on one of the two nights he is home for dinner. You motion to the kids to just eat and ignore it. You and the kids try and have a good time. Talk about their day and what is coming up at school tomorrow. They are young but they are not stupid. The oldest is just old enough to whisper, “Just don’t argue with him Mom. Just walk away.” Your gut starts to wrench knowing that it is coming. You will be blindsided. You don’t answer your oldest. You cannot make that kind of promise because you have no idea what this will be about or what happened.
You do know that when it comes, when his eyes become vacant, you will be trying to keep him from waking the kids with his yelling, you may be locking yourself in the bathroom as he tries to pound down the door, you will be called names that many enemies don’t even call each other. That the world will be your fault. That you are too ugly, too fat, too flirty, too bitchy, you name it, depending on how he feels, you will feel the wrath.
He will erupt. Your only hope is that it won’t be in front of the kids. You can take it to protect their innocence. You can take it to keep their Daddy with them a little longer. To keep them safe from him and him being alone with them. There is more to this in life but right now, your goal is to get these kids what they need. Keep them safe, happy, grounded, in their home.
I could never understand how he couldn’t be happy. Our family was amazing. Kids were smart and happy. They were healthy. I did my best to keep them occupied while he worked 12 hours a day. I supported him by staying home so we didn’t have to pay for child care or parking for me as I was a paralegal and had worked downtown. He didn’t have to worry about taking off for the kids being sick or coordinating vacations with my work schedule, not that we went on many vacations. His life was work and home. He had no other cares. I took care of everything having to do with the kids so that he could run his business.
But he was unhappy, all the time and when his eyes turned dark and the eerie silence crept into our lives, the three of us would just sit and wait. I would talk to God about keeping the kids out of it, giving me strength. Many times I turned my marriage over to God and said “I can’t do this any more. I can’t be hurt like this any more.” and he would give me strength.
One of the saddest times in my life was when my oldest told me that living with Dad was like living on a roller coaster. He was 10. Equally as sad was when my youngest at about the same age said, “Dad has no soul. Do you know what I mean? He just doesn’t feel things the way we do.” Sadly enough, I did know what he meant. I had said it to the narcissist before, “Your soul is dark. You have no spirit. How can you live with no spirit?” He would beg for my help but it wasn’t my job to help him. It was his job to seek help for himself. When someone goes to that dark, eerie place, the only thing you can do is surround yourself with protection. God’s protection, white light, whatever your higher power is, seek it.
It’s not your job to help him. You can’t stop the darkness. Trust me. I’m a freaking ball of sunshine and positivity and I had no effect on him. I loved him wholeheartedly and purely with no luck. But I kept my positivity for myself and my kids and I kept myself as sunshiny as possible and I do believe that it got me through. That and my faith in God.