Now that my kids are adults, he’s shown up again, riding in like a hero on his “great guy” image, denying his actions and sewing confusion anew.
Narcissists (NPD’s) and sociopaths are like that. It’s easy to be the great guy when time is limited to holiday photo ops and lunches. In their wake, however, these personality disordered individuals leave people with the uneasy feeling that something isn’t right.
Most of us readily dismiss that feeling because we like our belief systems to match our reality. When confronted with information that conflicts with our beliefs, values, or ideas, we experience emotional pain called cognitive dissonance.
When the difference between the new information and our beliefs is huge, so is the pain. The greater the pain, the greater the desire to deny the new, disturbing information.
There are only 2 ways to reduce the pain: changing our beliefs (very difficult) or denying the new information (much easier).
No wonder spouses of sex addicts experience such trauma. The truth is directly opposite our supposed reality. It takes intense trauma therapy, and enormous courage, to quiet the war waging in our brains and face the abuses perpetrated against us.
Cognitive dissonance explains why his version of the story – “I cheated once 15 years ago because my wife was such an angry crazy woman” – is much more palatable to his family and our children. Who wants a dad, or a son, or a brother who is a sexually deviant serial cheater?
They’ve never witnessed the deviancy, but have plenty of experience with his carefully crafted false image. Talk about cognitive dissonance!
I won’t ever win by engaging in the war of words, so I have zero contact with him. He will continue to lie/deny and sew confusion wherever he goes, and I will be portrayed as crazy.
He has to have it that way, just in case his worlds collide and any of his victims speak truth to his new prey.
But, all hope is not lost. I have a secret weapon called truth. It always wins, just not on my schedule!