My commute into work was unsustainable. I was driving almost 70 km (40 miles) into a large city. This particular highway would come to a complete stop if one drop of rain, or heaven forbid, a snowflake, landed on it. On more than one day it took over three hours to get into work.
In addition to the commute, the job was not during normal working hours. This is very important when you have small children because school and day care are during the day. If you have to work different hours, childcare becomes difficult. Spending time with your children is almost impossible if you are working evenings, or early mornings — think 4 a.m. All of this to say that I was highly motivated to get a new job.
At my place of work, promotions were rewarded through a competitive process that could easily be described as memorizing the assigned materials and being able to answer questions on it in both written format and during an interview. There was a job available about 20 km (12 miles) from my place. It was an office job, during the day, and would be a significant raise in pay and quality of life.
I made the first cut and they informed me that they would send me a fax. The information in the fax would be a significant part of the “interview” process and it was understood that I was supposed to be prepared to discuss its contents. The technology at this time was not what it is today. We did not own an actual fax machine. Our computer was hooked up directly to the phone lines (Yes, this was quite a while ago!) and was configured to answer the phone when a fax came in and download the file in electronic format.
I’m using the word, “our” but it was definitely his computer. I did not know how to use it well and we “shared” an email account during this time. It was before I was aware that you could create free email acounts, or perhaps before free email accounts were available.
I was anxious to read and start thinking about the fax so I asked him if the fax had arrived yet and he assured me that it had not. I asked daily for about three days and it was not there. Then came the day of the interview and the fax had still not arrived. I did not know who to contact about the fax and the people I spoke to at the office were not able to help me track it down.
I confidently went into the interview knowing that someone on their end had not sent the fax and that they would know how to deal with the interview. I had underestimated how competitive my husband was. He saw this job as potentially better than the one that he had at the time and he had done his best to undermine me. It would not be acceptable to him for me to have a job that was better than his.
As a narcissist he always had to “win”. He had to be on top. He always said that he supported me, but the underlying message was, “Go ahead and do whatever you want as long as you take care of everything that you are currently taking care of and don’t ask me to help.” By the way, this is not support.
The fax had been sent almost a week before and he had simply lied about it. The receipt for the sent and received fax was shown to me. I requested that the interview be rescheduled but that was not possible. When I confronted him he said that he had made an honest mistake. He did not realize that there was a new fax on his computer. He got angry and said that he was too busy to “discuss” this right now and started to criticize me for interfering with his ability to get his work done.
He liked to say that the best defense was a good offense and I was often the target of his anger. If he could attack sufficiently then he would not need to take responsibility or apologize — ever. I naively thought that it might have been a mistake. Unfortunately, it was part of a larger pattern. I just hadn’t figured it out yet.