One year ago yesterday was The Great Toothpaste Incident of 2017, when the Narcissist decided I was no longer deserving of toothpaste.
March 27, 2017. Having one of those mornings where the attempts to stay joyful and appreciative feel impossible. I thought we’d maxed out on possible pettiness during the holidays when he moved the Christmas tree into his bedroom because I was “acting entitled” when I expressed disappointment that he hadn’t decorated it when he’d said he would (I had been forbidden from helping). He then forbade me from putting up a tree of my own. Because dammit, only he deserves holiday cheer. Nobody else.
I think we’ve now beat that. The man actually took all the extra tubes of toothpaste. Why? No idea. But seriously? …The toothpaste?
I buy all household provisions and always have. I do believe these two tubes of toothpaste were the exception and he actually did, in a rare show of decency a few weeks ago, take it upon himself to buy some toothpaste for the house. I recall thinking thoughts of gratitude and kindness about it. And yet, when the tube in the cabinet was gone and I reached for some more, the extras had mysteriously disappeared. I’m certain they were still there a couple days ago, but apparently, between then and now it was determined I’m undeserving of “his” …toothpaste.
There’s a part of me that would love to now take all the toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, herbs and spices, cooking implements, cooking oils, condiments, laundry detergent, fabric softener, dish detergent, dish soap, sponges and all other cleaning supplies (not that he ever has used them, but still), hand soap, and all other basic household accoutrements away so he can’t use them, but that sounds like a lot of effort and I really don’t think it’s worth it.
When he goes low, I’ll go high.
My joy that day was that he and I finally reached agreement on the terms of the buyout for the house and executed a legally binding agreement. I thought at that point he would start the refinance. I thought things would proceed in a logical, predictable way and I would soon be done with all of his nonsense.
For a couple nights in a row, I actually was able to sleep soundly.
I found out shortly thereafter he had started the refinance process long before getting final approval from me about him keeping the house. I found out my timeline for getting out of the house was far shorter than expected.
This wasn’t necessarily bad news, but it was unanticipated and a source of anxiety for me. I had a far shorter amount of time in which to find a new place to live.
The biggest impact, however, was because he had been moving forward in secret, he hadn’t wanted me to know when the appraisal was scheduled.
I only found out after the fact that an appraiser had been allowed into the home and had toured and taken photos. The house wasn’t fixed up at all beforehand. It was a mess in every possible way.
The Narcissist had not been willing to do work on the house while I was still part owner.
I had asserted my right to an opinion about work that might impact the value of the property. I demanded veto power on changes he wanted to make, in case (as was usually true) his idea for an improvement was something he planned to execute in a way that was utterly moronic. His improvements had a tendency to cause more harm than good.
I had, however, made it clear that I had no objection to him finishing the projects that were already started.
Collaboration, particularly when both parties are on equal footing, is not something that a Narcissist is equipped to handle.
Therefore, half-finished projects littered the house at the time of the appraisal. He did absolutely nothing to prepare the house for the appraisal.
I felt horribly violated about the appraisal on a number of levels, not the least of which was knowing a stranger had entered my bedroom and taken photographs of my personal space without my knowledge or permission.
However, my distress was purely emotional. Fortunately for me, the appraisal amount did not impact the amount of the buyout.
It had been he who had suggested a clause stating I would get more money if the house appraised for higher than our mutually agreed upon estimated value of the property, but I would not get less if the house appraised lower than this amount.
(I still don’t know why he volunteered this, but I was happy to accept. My understanding is it’s a rather unusual clause in a buyout agreement.)
Yet, in typical Narcissistic fashion, the Narcissist then decided the arrangement was unfair.
He felt it was my fault that the appraisal had come in low. After the appraisal came in, he decided that I was getting more than was just from the buyout agreement. He didn’t tell me this directly; I found out through his lawyer that it was the reason behind all the shenanigans that followed.
It had been he who had not wanted to tell me the appraisal had been scheduled.
It had been he who had not made any effort to tidy up the house or finish projects prior to the appraisal.
But somehow, his decisions, moods, and actions were entirely my fault.
One year ago yesterday was when the final chapter of the nightmare began.
The story continued with him dragging his heels on completing the refinance, refusing to provide any information about reasons for the delay, not divulging important information that impacted my ability to move out and buy my new home, and generally enjoying being able to control my anxiety spiral for as long as humanly possible.
I stayed low-contact with him throughout all this. I asked my lawyer and mortgage broker to do most of the communication required.
I stayed calm and refused to allow the Narcissist to use me as a supply source.
I saved everything and started preparations in case I ultimately needed to take the Narcissist to court.
I was having anxiety meltdowns on a daily basis, and was convinced I was going to need to take him to court to get any money out of the house at all.
I got out eventually. I did not need to take him to court. I remain convinced this is because my lawyer and I made it clear we were documenting interactions and collecting evidence.
Ultimately, though, the Narcissist had a new supply source, so it’s likely he convinced himself that although he was in the right, battling with me simply wasn’t worth his time or energy.
The months that followed one year ago yesterday were some of the worst, most violating, most awful of the entire tawdry mess, but I got out eventually.
I was not joyful or appreciative one year ago today. Today, however, I am joyful and appreciative that I am where I am now as a result of what I went through back then.