Thank you LuellaMay (nice to meet you) and thank you Sweet Soul and My Molly for your heartfelt responses. I am humbled by your sincere outpouring.
I left so many gaps unfilled ... (and yes, that indeed was his emails to me (verbatim) compiled into one rambling post) ... I have no idea where to start.
First of all, let me say I completely understand the "Red Flags" ... I felt/saw them immediately upon our first few conversations, and my initial responses to him were friendly but almost curt.
Knowing him COMBINED with our subsequent visits since this posting, however, I will say the flags are not RED anymore (they are more like pink.)
There is no doubt he needs help ... and there is also no doubt in my mind that one year of sporadic counseling cannot/will not undo over 3o years of damage to his Self.
I have known Nathan since elementary school. He would come to school dirty and unkemp, hungry, and withdrawn. He'd come to school with scrapes on his face ... with black eyes ... with bruised arms ... he never ever wore shorts. I remember him as being always sick (super snotty nose and wet coughs) ... I remember him being quiet and polite (yes ma'am, no ma'am, thank you, please, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, etc)
In junior high, I remember Nathan growing into a young man. And he was very handsome. He became "popular" despite wearing hand-me-downs from his older brother and never being quite in style ... his looks and personality made up for it. He was a perfect gentleman to all his girlfriends, and always respected them and never pressured them ... took "no" for an answer and still treated you with friendly love after the break-up. He still would have the occasional black-eye ... but there was always an excuse ... skateboarding, bike racing, yada yada yada BUT ... being a basketball star, he had to wear shorts (and back then they were short-shorts) and the bruises on his legs were obvious.
He was a VERY tall boy back then, and he always held his head high and laughed. He never could quite get used to his body (it grew so fast) and he was the clumsiest boy you've ever seen ... he'd trip over his own feet, literally ... ALL THE TIME ... and that kinda helped us laugh away and ignore what our guts kept telling us.
By ninth grade the bruises on the legs stopped, but the upper body bruises were just a normal part of his appearance ... we were beyond conditioned in seeing Nathan's latest prize. In fact, by his appearance alone, everyone thought Nathan a bad-ass ... someone NOT to mess with ... in hindsight, I never ever saw him fight, pick a fight or talk trash to confirm that tough persona .. if anything, i recall him always being the first to step in between fights (no matter WHO was fighting.)
The boy was severely abused by his father growing up ... and so was his mother ... and she stayed with him.
THAT is why Nathan kept reiterating "I did not hit ... " because he knew that would be my first internal question ... he wanted me to know, despite his upbringing, he has not turned into his father. In fact, it is something that he fears. And now that his life is spinning out of control he REALLY fears it.
I agree with ya'll ... his language does not sound like one who has been through a year's worth of counseling.
You should know he has been going to counseling with his wife ... a marriage counselor ... and she is in the room with him. She takes control of the discussion, and answers for him half the time, and when the counselor asks him directly for his input his wife's presence prohibits him from speaking openly. And even when he does find the courage to be honest, his wife twists the truth so convincingly he doubts his perception of things and honestly believes it is his fault.
If anything, I am beginning to fear it is his WIFE that is the NPD ...
Now there is NO DOUBT he needs help ... OMGoodness, does he ever!
The man has NO self-esteem at all.
She is very controlling, yet she says he is the controlling one. I think she actually resents him whenever he trys to "grow a backbone" and throws it in his face.
Staying at home? She wanted to stay at home, and that thrilled him. His children are his life. I have heard their interactions on the phone (especially the interactions with his four year old.) I am a stay at home mom and it is important to me AND my husband to raise our children until they older - no daycare - and we actually are considering home-schooling our baby) ... anyway, four kids or not, she is still discarding him and wants to continue staying at home. In fact, she will conveniently collect alimony on top of child support in order to do so...and has already moved in a sister to help with the mortage and utilties. (Her sister got a job as a waitress at a bar, and ever since, his wife has been going to hang out often.) On his nights off, he is with the kids so she can go party ... and i know this is true because we've talked and i've heard the kids playing in the background. His wife does not come home until well after 3 o'clock and sometimes not at all (even on nights before he has to go into work.)
Family support? She ostracized him from his family ... and ostracized herself and her children from hers. She has kept Nathan away from his family since they met ... and encouraged the move from Texas to Arizona. They transferred from Arizona TO Alaska to get away from her parents. She would make phone calls home so miserable for him that he eventually stopped altogether.
Her parents are distraught over all of this. They love Nathan. When Nathan transfers back to Arizona, he will be staying with HER PARENTS ... and they will help him stay on his feet.
All of their "problems" began when his father died (same year as their 4 year old was born.) That unleashed a lot of turmoil for him ... added stress ... he became impatient and moody (which, to me, is human and understandable.)
I "think" what has happened here is Nathan already had such a low self-esteem that when Carman met him he was at a low point, and she rescued him ... dominated him ... and molded him into her perfect man.
When imperfections arose ... when he began growing a backbone ... asking things, expecting things, etc ... she resented that. As long as he behaved according to her standards all was well. Everything she wanted she literally got and THEN SOME. When he said "no" it was the end of the world. Silent treatment ... withholding sex ... rebellious shopping sprees they could not afford ... if he questioned where the money went (let me see where it went) she threw a fit ... she has excuses for everything ...
But he loves her. Is dependent on her. Has his Self wrapped up in her ... thinks he is nothing without her ... cannot imagine life without her in it ... when i am thinking this is exactly what he needs.
Friends? No he claims he does not have real "friends" ... Carman disapproved of them all, and they socialized with her friends ... his fire buddies are not friends to him, they are his "family." And I should add, yes, of course they love and support him ... they are aware of the drama in his life. (I've witnessed communication between him and his co-workers on his MySpace page ... it is obvious they are concerned for Nathan and are rather concerned of Carman's influence upon him.)
She wants a divorce, and refuses to work on keeping the family together. She already kicked him out ... yet uses him for a babysitter so she can go out ... she acts real nice when she wants something, and once he takes care of that "something" he is then treated as dirt again ... and when he told her he was transferring back to Arizona to be with her family, she threw a fit ... she realizes he will not be there to use him at her every beck-n-call. She actually wanted to know "who will watch the kids for me?" Her concern was not how this will affect the realtionship with the children! (Which is my concern ... in fact, I strongly disagree with him leaving them ... but he is desperate to get away from her ... strangely desperate.)
She is seeing someone ... and yet when she snooped into his personal belongings (remember, he'd already moved out!) and found my texts of "how are you? everything okay?" she threw another fit ... and twisted things to unimaginable proportions ... how dare he have another confidant, another woman?
Only I (me, me, me) can have those things ... NOT YOU ... we are still married!!!! How dare you CHEAT me!!! I am numero UNO ... no one else ... you are supposed to beg me! ... you are supposed to concentrate on me! I don't want you, but I don't want anyone else to want you either.
(that's how i see it)
When, in fact, he has been begging for months now to save their marriage ... the day they met with the mediators, once again, she was asked are you sure you want to go through with this? and she was adamant, "yes! it's over."
That very night she finds my messages, and all of a sudden (playing with his emotions) "well, you know, I was actually thinking of taking you back after a year of separation ... you know, you go ahead and move and fix yourself (i don't need fixing; you do) and come back and then MAYBE i'll take you back if you're good enough for me ... but now that THIS has happened, you can FORGET THAT."
To me that is cruel. What kind of person plays like that? This man is lost ... is heartbroken ... and she is so mean to him.
(once again, this is how i see it.)
Oh! Here's another ironic twist: Carman is all of a sudden interested in a little nookie on the side for old time's sake before he goes. The thought of it disgusts him, and tears him apart. It pinned him into a corner because when he showed disinterest THAT proved to her he was messing around with another woman! (ah-ha! busted! i knew it!)
He finally began seeing another counselor on his own (by himself) two months ago, and when she found out about that it made her mad ... she needs to be there ... she wants details of what they talk about ... feels threatened that he is talking to someone else ... it really is illogical.
Nathan is drugged out of his mind ... he admitted he has been prescribed medication to calm his nerves (from the marriage counselor), but he also told me he HATES the way they make him feel ... feels like a zombie. Carman has painted him out to be a monster ... yes, he has yelled (i want to yell too) but he has NEVER EVER physically hurt her ... and, yet, because of his past he is automatically guilty of physical violence, so let's drug him ... that's in everyone's best interest, right?
I wonder if the meds are contributing to his depression and suicidal thoughts?
By the way, his personal counselor is trying to wean him off the drugs. And has recommended an exercise program .. he has lost 75 pounds
and is still losing ... he is bulking back up and starting to "look" healthy again.
and yes, yes, yes! I'd LOVE to talk to Carman myself. I'd LOVE to hear her side of the story ... but the thought of it scares me to death ... IF she is the NPD, then she'd be rather convincing ... dangerously so.
Does Nathan need help? MOST definitely. But i think he needs help to repair damage from his abusive childhood and marriage.
Someone like Nathan is PERFECT prey for NPD predators.
So, anyway, now that i've filled in a little more gaps ... what do you think?
(Dang! I feel like I've just vomitted all over y'all. I'm so fortunate y'all don't mind ... that's what we're HERE for, isn't it? I'm so thankful.)