Hidden Rejection

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  • #556
    Renee Swanson

    He told me all the time that I was too good for him. He told me that he loved me so much and that he wanted me to be happy. And yet he often spoke so sharply and harshly in day-to-day living! He shut down conversations with aggressive abruptness. He gave such short and sharp answers that conversation was often completely impossible. For years, I never felt safe in normal conversations with him. I felt guarded and on high alert. He continuously created an environment that was emotionally unsafe.

    I remember one summer day that I was out all day with our boys while he was at work. We returned home before him. When he came home from work, I was happy to tell him how our day had been. After all, he had been complaining lately that I don’t talk with him enough and make him feel like part of the family. So when he sat down on the couch, I sat with him and began telling him about our day. He pulled out his phone and started playing a game. I was beginning to tell him a funny story about something his oldest son had done that day. I was only a couple of sentences into the story. While I was in mid-sentence, he sharply yelled, “OKAY!” at me. So I stopped and walked away, feeling completely rejected. I did not say another word about our day, and he never said a word about that interaction.

    I left many of our conversations feeling extremely rejected. He would often cut me off, clearly not wanting to hear what I was saying. Other times, he would nod emphatically, with this air about him that says, “I already know this, so why are you wasting my time?” He would even interrupt me to strongly say, “I know,” or “I get it.” It always felt like a crime to talk with him about something he already knew. And since he always came across as already knowing everything, he never made me feel welcome talking to him. This was happening on a daily basis. When you are rejected in this way so regularly, you feel completely rejected in the relationship. This is not how you build a healthy marriage.

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  • #30238

    This one triggered a memory. My husband (who I have been married to for 24 years I now know is a covert narcissist) has given me the “wrap it up” hand signal as I am talking. After much research I now realize how rude and dismissive that is. And that it is a symptom of a much larger issue of HIS. I can’t believe I ever tolerated that or any of the myriad of other emotionally abusive acts he has chosen to use.


    And thank you for starting this safe forum for discussion!


    Wow, Renee,

    That is how my husband is. I don’t know how many times in our marriage I have said, “let me finish before you start talking please.” or “you just walked out of the room mid sentence – that is rude.” He has taken out his phone and I’ve asked him to repeat back what I just said, and he can’t.

    He has actually said to me that he doesn’t really want to hear what I have to say.

    In one of our counselling sessions we had a conversation with the therapist about monologues vs dialogues. The therapist was asking me if I could be flexible and allow my husband to monologue sometimes…she didn’t really understand that this was his only preference, and defeated the closer communication and connection that I was asking for.

    I carefully word my statements or texts so that there are no words that he can come back and essentially tell me that I am wrong…in one way or another. Inevitably there will be something in what I say or text that he can call me on as being wrong. I really don’t try to have conversations with him anymore, but then there are good days and I forget…until he does it again.

    Thankfully I now have some wonderful friends who I have been able to confide in. And this forum will be a lifesaver for me as I negotiate these next couple years before my youngest graduates, and I increase my earnings.

    Renee Swanson

    Hey Inthemix!

    I am so glad that you have good support around you. That is crucial in this process!!

    Another form of mental and emotional abuse that often gets overlooked is when we are put into a situation where our brain has to work overtime to word things “just right” in order to avoid offending or upsetting the one that we are supposed to be the safest with. We play through 100’s of ways to say one thing to them and all the ways they might respond to it. This is crazy-making! We should just be able to have genuine conversation with our significant other. Yet we expend enormous amounts of mental energy just to say one sentence to them that won’t upset them. And still fail over and over. It’s ridiculous!

    By the time I was actually out of the relationship, my mind was completely exhausted! I had to consciously learn to allow my mind to quit thinking so hard. It took a while to stop over-analyzing everything I was going to say to someone in order to anticipate their reaction. I am still learning to trust simple conversation again.

    I wish you all the best in these next couple of years!



    It really IS crazy-making! I feel so thankful that I have been able to separate how I respond/think within my marriage, and how I am with everyone else in my life. I focus on compartmentalizing. There was a time that I was scared that I would just create this chaos again if I was ever in a new relationship, so I’m now trying to “be me” as much as possible with others. It feels so free outside the door of my home…and I try hard not to let it affect my relationship with my kids.

    Thanks for starting this whole community, and for being someone we can identify with. SO important in this strange world of covert narcissism!


    Renee Swanson

    Hey Leigh,

    Community has been the answer for me to be able to get out of the nightmare I was in. It is what held me up when I had absolutely no internal strength left. It is was saved my boys! It is crucial in our healing process. So you are very welcome!

    I highly recommend the book The Journey by Meredith Miller. It is about the process of healing from narcissistic abuse and helped me tremendously.

    You got this!!

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